Imports down over Covid-19

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Cambodia’s exports to international markets reached more than $10 billion in the first 10 months of last year, mainly from the garment, textile, footwear and travel products sectors. post staff

Shipments of goods between the Kingdom and China are declining amid the Covid-19 outbreak, according to local logistics experts.

SHA Transport Express CEO Khut Saroeun told The Post that there has been a 10 per cent drop in import-export activity between the two economies.

“The shipment of goods between the two countries has declined, but I don’t think this is posing a serious risk to the local transport sector yet,” he said.

Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association president Sin Chanthy agreed.

“The logistics sector is feeling the impact of the outbreak in China. Companies in the sector are seeing their revenue decline,” he said.

The Kingdom and China have a close trade relationship, which means if the Chinese economy is in trouble, so is the local shipping sector, he said.

Chanthy said shipments from China to Cambodia have been down since the Lunar New Year. He said while a slowdown is to be expected around that time of the year, by now the sector should have recovered.

Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) vice-president Chan Sokheang said while trade with other markets is unchanged, shipments to and from China have seen a drop.

“Some ships are entering Chinese ports with empty containers because China cannot receive goods,” he said.

Sokheang said imports of raw materials from China are down significantly as factories there have been forced to shut down due to the virus.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the virus outbreak is hampering the tourism sectors of many countries, including Cambodia.

“Fear of the virus is hurting the economy, starting with the tourism sector and followed by the transport industry,” he said.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said on February 8 that as Covid-19 continues to spread across China, textile factories there have halted operations.

This has disrupted the supply of raw materials to Cambodia as most garment factories in the Kingdom import fabric from China.

“Garment factories in Cambodia depend on China to supply raw materials. Once they place an order, it takes these factories about 40 days to receive the fabric. Before Chinese New Year, a lot of fabric was imported into the country, but then factories in China closed,” he said.

Cambodia’s exports to international markets reached more than $10 billion in the first 10 months of last year, mainly from the garment, textile, footwear and travel products sectors, according to a recent Ministry of Commerce report.

The report shows that Cambodia exported more than $10.8 billion worth of goods, up 6.45 per cent year-on-year.

A breakdown in the data showed that garment exports were worth $6.4 billion, textiles $40 million, footwear $905 million and rice $286 million, while other products accounted for more than $3.1 billion.