Data from Cambodia’s custom and excise department shows that from January to August this year, the total number of containers arriving and leaving the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) increased by 22.1% compared with the same period last year.
The total import and export volume reached US$951 million, an increase of 26.13% compared with US$754 million during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the entry of international enterprises into SSEZ is also speedily increasing. Since this year, enterprises from Laos, Switzerland, France and other countries have set up operations in SSEZ.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, many enterprises have been faced with development obstruction. However, relying on the platform advantages of SSEZ, a large number of international enterprises in SSEZ responded positively, realised a rise against the trend and showed strong development vitality.
A visit to the workshop of Caffco (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. in SSEZ showed that production inside is going on in an orderly manner, no different from before the outbreak of the COVID-19. The workers are busy at their respective production lines and are full of enthusiasm.
As a wholly-owned US enterprise, Caffco (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. was established in SSEZ in August 2012 and has been in operation for more than eight years. The company’s factory covers an area of more than 50,000 square metres, mainly producing PVC Christmas trees and all kinds of Christmas gifts. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in Cambodia, Caffco (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. responded to the challenges caused by the epidemic positively. At present, the development momentum is proceeding very well.
Besides Caffco (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. a large number of enterprises from countries, such as the US, Ireland, England, South Korea, have realised stable development by relying on the platform advantages of SSEZ.
Jointly developed and built by Cambodian and Chinese enterprises, SSEZ has always been adhering to the “win-win” concept, improving production and living support facilities and enhancing international service capabilities continuously in order to create a perfect operation environment for enterprises from all over the world with the aim to establish a multi-national development platform for enterprises.
SSEZ has built supporting facilities such as a sewage disposal plant, thermal power plant, apartments and walk-up flats, and established a “one-stop” service window, which is composed of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), Custom and Excise Department, Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and Preah Sihanouk provincial government to provide smooth handling of formalities and other administrative services for all enterprises in SSEZ.
SSEZ has also established a community health care centre and a training centre to provide medical and training services etc for all enterprises in SSEZ.
After COVID-19 broke out this year, SSEZ has taken strict prevention and control measures to protect the lives and health of employees and ensure normal operations of enterprises are unaffected in the zone. At the same time, SSEZ also coordinates with the enterprises to help each other and overcome difficulties.
With these perfect support facilities and comprehensive platform services, the benefits of entering into SSEZ are substantial.
Because of this, a large number of international enterprises have been attracted to and settled in SSEZ. In February, an enterprise from Laos entered into SSEZ, mainly producing food; in June, an enterprise from Switzerland entered into SSEZ, mainly producing glasses; in August, an enterprise from France entered into SSEZ, mainly producing luggage and bags.
Besides the enterprises, local people have also enjoyed the development dividend of SSEZ. Nearly 30,000 jobs have been created in SSEZ. Among them, 70% of the families working in SSEZ in Prey Nob district alone have greatly improved their living standards.
“I am very grateful to SSEZ because our family’s life has improved greatly, and we have bought five motorcycles.” Kana, who works in SSEZ, said.
Her family used to live by farming and raising pigs and had a very hard life in a small stilted building. Nowadays, their lives are getting better and better by working in SSEZ.
At the same time, SSEZ has also actively fulfilled its social responsibilities and carried out charitable activities. In February 2008, SSEZ donated money to build a school; donates money to the Cambodian Red Cross Society every year; donated money to help poor students; donated cement to nearby villages to improve traffic conditions; donated drinking water, quilts, rice and other essential supplies to flood victims to make them feel warm and hopeful. Earlier, several days of torrential rain in Preah Sihanouk province had affected some families in villages nearby and SSEZ immediately provided lots of help to them.
A young man named Soun Pin said that the strong winds and heavy rain during this period of time severely damaged his house and the bed and quilt could not be used any more. The quilts and mats donated by SSEZ ensured his family could finally sleep soundly.
Nowadays, the investment environment in Preah Sihanouk province is improving day by day. In accordance with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request to expand SSEZ into an international zone, SSEZ, as the largest special economic zone in Preah Sihanouk province, will continue to speed up the construction of facilities using the “win-win” concept, attract more and more international enterprises into the zone and make due contributions to the happiness of the local people, the local economy and social development.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.