Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) has called on the government to exempt and delay the application for business licensing for the certificate of aeronautical service operators (CASO) because its members have now been hit severely by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a CLA statement sent to the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, it said the second wave of the pandemic has been continually hitting the global economy as well as the Cambodian economy in particular, which was significantly hurt.
The statement read that the logistics sector was also affected, together with the partial withdrawal of the EU’s preferential Everything but Arms trade deal. “With these issues, the CLA has been trying to seek solutions, support and collaboration from relevant stakeholders and the government for the purpose of ensuring sustained businesses and operations in the logistics sector.”
“The CLA would like to request the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation to exempt the implementation of applying for business licensing for the CASO,” the statement read.
According to an SSCA announcement issued on June 19, it is a compulsory requirement that all air operators providing air-freight forwarding services at the three international airports have their businesses registered with and be granted a certificate of aeronautical services operator by the SSCA.
“It is strictly noted herewith that any operators providing air-freight forwarding services that have not been granted a CASO by the SSCA will not be allowed to access the airport premises for service provision,” SSCA said.
In parallel, Cambodia Airport has also issued the letter to the president of the CLA for them to notify their members and display the letter with prakas No 2072 from the SSCA at the warehouse for non-members of the CLA, said the Cambodia Airport’s Chief Executive Officer Alain Brun in a letter to the CLA.
“Because air freight forwarders working directly with the carriers on the space book before reaching our warehouse, we will be accepting all cargo bookings based on their flight booking list for outbound goods and cargo manifest for inbound goods assuming that the general sale agent or freight forwarding partner is already certified by CASO,” said Brun.
CLA president Sin Chanthy said there has been no requirement for airfreight forwarding operators to apply for business licensing on the airfreight forwarders since 1990. However, the SSCA has now just required all airfreight forwarding operators who are dealing with the airports or the customs department to have a CASO business licence.
He added that the SSCA will charge the licence fee $500 for one year of validity. However, if looking at neighbouring countries, those [airfreight forwarders] that have to apply for the licensing of the CASO are conducted for only the general sales agents for airlines, airplane cleaning services, airplane petroleum services, airplane handling services and the cargo sales agency of airlines.
“For the airfreight forwarding operators, we do not work closely with the airplane companies. We do only the customs services in the customs office or cargo warehouse, so we called the SSCA to exempt this licensing as we are third parties,” Chanthy added.
He said air transportation has been seriously hit while the logistic or freight forwarders are almost bankrupt, so there is no need to require them to apply for the licence this time. He added that if the freight forwarders do not have the licence, they will not be allowed to operate any services for cargo at the airports by Nov 30. At present, there is more than a 95 percent drop in air cargo.
“For the CLA, we have called for our more than 100 members not to cut staff during the pandemic. Thus, we also called for the SSCA to understand this issue. We continue calling for support from the government on this issue and seek clarification over why the airfreight forwarding operators have to apply the certificate of aeronautical service operator,” Chanthy added.
“For those who are general sales agents and cargo sales agencies of airlines, they have to apply for the certificate of aeronautical service operator, but the airfreight forwarders should be exempted ,” he added.
SSCA’s spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha said that the requirement for airfreight forwarders to apply for a CASO has been in use for two years already but since Cambodia suffered the COVID-19 pandemic businesspeople showed concern about this procedure and fee, so now the SSCA has checked it and has created a small working group to work with the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Economic and Financial Policy Committee to think of what to do.
“If the Economic and Financial Policy Committee decide to delete or delay [its application] or whatever, we will follow the decision,” he said, adding the SSCA will follow the decision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Economic and Financial Policy Committee. “If the ministry allows us to eliminate the licensing of the certificate of aeronautical service operator, we will delete it. We are working on this issue,” he said.
He also said the government will consider this issue because the concern from the private sector is important. Chansereyvutha added the CLA has requested the elimination of some fees and a delay for others.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.