Cambodia: Electronic port data exchange system set for August

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has announced plans to implement an online-only electronic data exchange system in Cambodia’s ports in August to facilitate a more efficient management of ship transport and transfer activity.

The ministry held a meeting on March 28 on the preparation of a draft sub-decree on the electronic data exchange system, also known as Port EDI, to discuss ways in which the project can be more efficient for its users.

Ministry director-general for Waterway-Maritime Transport and Ports Mak Sideth told The Post that the preparation of this sub-decree aims to ensure the “smooth operation” of the Port EDI system, “especially in providing the ministry with accurate and clear references so that the relevant authorities can use them”.

“This sub-decree is only to further clarify how the Port EDI will be used – it is not yet operational. When it is ready, we will prepare and submit the final product to Prime Minister Hun Sen for review and then it will be submitted for his signature, after which we will implement it immediately,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth, who is also head of the IT infrastructure section of the Port EDI project, told The Post that the project is scheduled to launch in August, and that the team is currently training officials on its functionality.

“The technology, when it is ready, is not that different [to the previous system, in terms of usability]. We just have to adjust some aspects according to customers’ opinions.

“The ministry is currently training both national and port officials to allow them to develop a basic knowledge of Port EDI,” he explained.

He said the new system will “ensure efficiency” in the issuance of permits to ships going in and out of Cambodia, making the process easier for officials to manage by sending documents related to the procedure in advance through online forms for the Commission to review and confirm in advance of the ship’s arrival at the Kingdom’s ports.

“The entry and exit of ships is a complex procedure requiring a lot of information to be processed in advance, so it isn’t feasible to just dock first and then go through the administrative procedures later. The Port EDI system will help solve all these problems,” Sotheayuth said.

He highlighted that other government departments, such as the Ministry of Health and the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, can also use the system for processing, allowing them to provide information and online services to inform ships of department-specific policies before they arrive in Cambodia.

He claimed the system will also be ready to accommodate the processing of “all types of ships” after the planned expansion of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

The Port EDI system aims to modernise entry-exit controls in Cambodia to an online-only system. Currently, all entry-exit procedures are manually processed, often causing significant delays.