COs still issued amid lockdown, logistics bottlenecks

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The Ministry of Commerce said in an April 20 announcement that it assigned officials to provide COs for regular exports of goods and ensure the sustainability of the provision of public services. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Commerce urged producers and exporters to continue applying for certificates of origin (CO) despite transport and logistics issues stemming from the ongoing lockdown in Phnom Penh and Takhmao town.

In accordance with government guidelines, the ministry said in an April 20 announcement that it assigned officials to provide COs for regular exports of goods and ensure the sustainability of the provision of public services.

 

The ministry invited those seeking a CO to apply through an automated system at co.moc.gov.kh.

Thaung Thyda, managing director of Kampot-Kep salt processing firm Thaung Trading Co Ltd, told The Post on April 20 that even with authorities issuing COs, her company had to temporarily suspend exports after numerous obstacles in moving merchandise to ports for export during the lockdown, among other logistics issues.

"Some of our domestic customers were also under lockdown. We are studying whether there is any other way to alleviate these problems … COs are still being provided as usual though,” she said.

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said the lockdown had rendered the milled-rice and freight sectors inoperable – rice mills could not process paddy and move the food staple across the capital or through the provinces to the ports.

The shock could even be felt by members of the federation outside of lockdown areas, many of which employ people in Phnom Penh and Takmao town who cannot travel to work, it said.

"These companies are unable to operate normally, hence production may be delayed and may not be able to meet previously agreed delivery schedules. We call for understanding and the arrangement for a compromise in this predicament.

 

"We must all cooperate and adhere to the guidelines of the government and work together to combat the spread of Covid-19. We urge all of you not to penalise our members for this situation which is beyond our control," CRF said.

Logistics Business Association (LOBA) president Chea Chandara noted that the lockdown had led to logistics bottlenecks, especially at Bavet and other international border gates, though priority access is given to foodstuffs.

Heavy congestion in Phnom Penh’s westernmost Kambol district and all roads linking surrounding Kandal province to the capital have dealt a heavy blow to the economic sector, adding salt to the would inflicted by fallout from the February 20 community transmission.

“We received information that [some of our members] last week shipped out some goods and the authorities allowed them to go in or out [of restricted areas]. I think the congested factory goods and other wares may be allowed to pass," Chandara said.

Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya advised transport companies to abide by the government's new sub-decree to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

"There was a congestion of goods, but we met and decided to implement the new sub-decree, which requires the application for a transit permit and authorises the provincial and municipal administrations to issue them," he said.