Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Hun Sen warns freight firm

Photo by: Pha Lina
A truck enters a So Nguon Group facility in Phnom Penh last year

via CAAI

Monday, 24 January 2011 19:41 Soeun Say

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned freight transportation firm So Nguon Group that it could be shut down, claiming its lorries often caused collisions on Cambodia’s roads and bridges.

A recent So Nguon truck breakdown on Phnom Penh’s Monivong Bridge had precipitated the warning, he said today during a ceremony inaugurating the Cambodia and China Friendship Prek Tamak Bridge in Kandal province.

“There will be only one reason to shut the company down, if they do not straighten out the transportation situation,” said the premier.

The Prime Minister said the firm often used old vehicles for transportation and added he wanted to “wake up the company” to change its ways.

“Everything [they use] is old, such as tyres, and bad drivers,” he said.

“I said this because I want to wake up the company … as I have woken them up two times already.”

So Nguon Group chairman So Nguon said today that the company had been upgrading its vehicles in recent months, adding: “I don’t know who instigated Samdech [Hun Sen] to be angry with us like this.”

The trucking firm, thought to be the biggest in the Kingdom, had bought 60 new lorries to be used for freight transportation in recent months, he claimed, and said it had sold most of its old vehicles.

Now it uses about 200 vehicles for goods transportation, which are mainly employed for transporting goods between Phnom Penh and destinations in Preah Sihanouk province and Vietnam.

“The trucking business is very difficult,” he explained.

“We don’t know when we will have accidents happening – we cannot see them before they happen.”

The company aims to decrease the number of vehicles it has on the road to between 100 and 150 vehicles, So Nguon said.

“It’s difficult to control [so many lorries]. I must sell more,” he said.

The group has stated that business was stronger during last year, with revenues over its first eight months surpassing total revenues for all of 2009 on the back of increased deliveries of garments.

“Our revenue soared because of an increase in transportation of textile products,” So Nguon has told The Post previously.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia claimed garment exports increased 26 percent in 2010 compared with the year previous.

Exports hit a total worth of $2.99 billion in 2010, compared with $2.38 billion in 2009, figures obtained earlier this month showed.

In 2009, So Nguon Group’s trucking business generated $7.56 million.

The president had said he anticipated that figure hitting $11 million in 2010.

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