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Exports Through Port Rise Nearly 10 Percent From 2014

Cambodian passengers wait for crossing the Mekong river in early morning, at a ferry port in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, file photo. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The number of ships coming through the port rose 17 percent year to year, and cruise ships rose from 25 to 36.

Cambodia exports through its coastal port rose in 2015, along with the number of cargo and cruise ships docking along the coast.

More than 3.8 million tons of cargo moved through the Preah Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in 2015, its director, Lou Kimchhun says. That’s an increase of nearly 10 percent from the year before.

The number of ships coming through the port rose 17 percent year to year, and cruise ships rose from 25 to 36.

Most of the exports were textiles, rice and other agriculture, he said. Rice goes to Europe and Asia, while textiles go to European and American markets, he said. Imports included raw material from China, fuel from Singapore and machinery and construction materials from various countries.

The rise in port exports helped add to broader growth in exports, which rose 7 percent from 2014 to 2015, Ken Ratha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said. Significant exports came from the garment sector, which employs more than 600,000 people, he said, many of them women from poor, rural areas. Garment exports for 2015 were worth more than $5 billion, up from around $4.8 billion in 2014.

Rice and agricultural exports also increased, he said. Rice exports increased about 40 percent year to year, from about 300,000 tons in 2014 to more than 500,000 tons in 2015. That’s about half of what Prime Minister Hun Sen had called for in 2015.

Ken Ratha said he hoped to see the export trend continue, but he warned that Cambodia’s exports depend much on global demand. “We have to think about the world market,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cambodia needs better technology and capacity, such as better warehouses to store rice, in order to meet international standards. “We’re trying hard,” Ken Ratha said. “Now we are working with big investors to look into warehouses and drying warehouses,” he said.