Air­freight ex­panded markedly in 2018: Avi­a­tion body

The Myanmar Times - - Business -

THE vol­ume of cargo trans­ported by air in the King­dom in­creased by 80,000 tonnes last year, a hike of be­tween 20 to 25 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial from the State Sec­re­tariat of Civil Avi­a­tion (SSCA).

Chea Aun, a spokesper­son for the avi­a­tion body, told Kh­mer Times that 2018 was a great year in terms of air­freight growth.

“There was big growth in the sec­tor. How­ever, it was mostly con­cen­trated in Ph­nom Penh In­ter­na­tional Air­port, fol­lowed by the air­ports in Si­hanoukville and Siem Reap,” Mr Aun said.

A lot of that growth was driven by de­mand in Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones (SEZs) – home to hun­dreds of com­pa­nies with ex­port op­er­a­tions – in Preah Si­hanouk prov­ince.

“SEZs in Preah Si­hanouk have been an im­por­tant fac­tor in this ex­pan­sion. Gar­ments, elec­tronic, and agri­cul­ture prod­ucts ac­count for the bulk of these ship­ments,” Mr Aun ex­plained.

A re­cent re­port from SSCA noted that from Jan­uary to Novem­ber there was an in­crease of nearly 69,000 tonnes of air­freight com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2017, amount­ing to a 16 per­cent rise. Most of that growth took place in the in­ter­na­tional air­ports of Ph­nom Penh and Si­hanoukville.

Sin Chan­thy, pres­i­dent of the Cam­bo­dia Freight For­warders As­so­ci­a­tion (CAMFFA), told Kh­mer Times that the strong­est growth was seen dur­ing the peak sea­son for the sec­tor, usu­ally Fe­bru­ary or March.

He added that dur­ing these months, cargo space in air­craft is scarce.

“One of the main chal­lenges for us is that dur­ing the peak sea­son it’s hard to find space in air­craft to carry our prod­ucts since few air­lines op­er­at­ing in Cam­bo­dia of­fer this ser­vice,” he said.

While a con­tainer can be shipped to the Euro­pean Union or the United States by just $4,000 to $5,000 by sea, the cost of trans­port­ing the same amount of goods by air­craft can reach $50,000, he added.

“Sea trans­port con­tin­ues to be the first choice for ex­porters, while truck­ing is num­ber two. The air op­tion, with its high costs, is of­ten used when the ship­ment is ur­gent,” Mr Chan­thy said.

Mao Ha­vanall, the newly ap­pointed Min­is­ter of the State Sec­re­tariat of Civil Avi­a­tion, re­cently said that the local avi­a­tion sec­tor has grown re­mark­ably thanks to the gov­ern­ment’s open sky pol­icy, im­ple­mented since 1999.

He added that due to the mod­erni­sa­tion of the air traf­fic man­age­ment sys­tem, the up­grad­ing of air­port fa­cil­i­ties across the coun­try and the strength­en­ing of reg­u­la­tion in the sec­tor, pas­sen­gers and cargo num­bers have risen dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent years.

Mr Ha­vanall pointed out that 10.4 mil­lion pas­sen­gers used a Cam­bo­dian air­port in 2018, an im­pres­sive in­crease from a decade ear­lier, when only 620,000 peo­ple were pass­ing through a local air­port each year.

“On top of this, we have signed air trans­port agree­ments with 44 coun­tries across the globe, and 47 air­lines are fly­ing in and out of Cam­bo­dia,” he added. –

Photo: Kh­mer Times

Air­craft in the tar­mac at Ph­nom Penh In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

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