Cambodia

In progress

Digitising customs clearances on small packages to benefit MSMEs

New online portal will also boost trade potential of MSMEs, women-led businesses

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The Alliance is supporting Cambodia Post and the Customs authority in linking their respective electronic systems for processing clearances of small packages, saving time and money for local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of them women-owned. In parallel, we will help establish an “e-Trade One Stop Service Portal” for MSMEs to access trade-related information, helping them navigate the complexity of rules and regulations.

MSMEs are the backbone of the Cambodian economy, representing 99% of the country’s private sector, and women-led businesses account for 65% of all MSMEs. However, these smaller businesses only account for 10% of Cambodia’s exports, compared to around 30% in other countries in the region.

Many MSMEs find the Customs clearance process daunting and complex, and often struggle to find information about the prevailing regulations and the applicable tariffs. Given the global surge in economic commerce (e-commerce), Cambodia Post and the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) want to make trade in small packages easier, faster, and more cost-efficient to unlock the potential of this enormous market for local MSMEs.

What we are doing

Cambodia Post and the DGCE each have electronic systems for handling parcel clearances for small parcels, but a lack of integration means that paper Customs declarations are still filed and processed by hand. This project is linking the two systems to facilitate the rapid clearance of small packages and end the dependence on cumbersome paper processes.

Change management workshops will raise awareness of the new approach and address technical issues associated with the systems integration, while Cambodia Post and Customs teams will receive training to adjust to expedited process.

The project has another component that aims to get more Cambodian MSMEs to embrace e-commerce and engage in cross-border trade. We are working with the Cambodian Women’s Entrepreneur Association (CWEA) on the development of a new online portal that can act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for SMEs looking to understand and engage in international trade through the enhanced arrangements between Cambodia Post and Customs.

The CWEA acts as a local private sector champion for the project, promoting public and MSME awareness of the possibilities of e-commerce and international trade while also building the capacities of local MSMEs and engaging in ongoing discussions with the government on trade issues.

Benefits

By creating a new digital link between Cambodia Post and Customs systems, and supporting MSME engagement in cross-border trade through CWEA, the project will:

  • reduce the time and costs required in filing and obtaining Customs clearances for small parcels shipped through Cambodia Post
  • remove a significant barrier to Cambodian MSMEs participating in cross-border trade and boost their growth and contributions to inclusive economic growth
  • give women-led businesses the opportunity to grow by making it easier to send small packages internationally, making e-commerce a more realistic prospect for many
  • enhance the transparency around Customs processes and tariffs applying to small package shipments
  • create new opportunities for Cambodia Post to expand its strategic partnerships with operators to improve its mail and logistics capacity

Raising the MSME share of Cambodia’s exports from 10% to the 30% seen in other Southeast Asian countries could add as much as USD 3.5 billion a year to the national economy.

Measurement

We will focus on establishing a baseline for postal shipments in advance of project implementation and conduct an assessment at its conclusion to consider the full range of impacts.

Timeline

The project is expected to take 18 months with the two components – focusing on the digital link between Cambodia Post and Customs and the development of the online portal at CWEA – running concurrently.

How can the private sector get involved?

We are looking for Cambodian MSMEs to participate in the project as early adopters and ‘champions’ of the expedited Customs clearance approach.

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Testimonials

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Alex Perkins

Senior Manager for International Government Affairs at FCA
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles and related parts and services in more than 140 countries. Moving goods across borders is part of its everyday operations. “FCA decided to get involved in the Global Alliance because it provided a unique opportunity to leverage the company’s in-house customs and supply chain management expertise to drive economic growth in developing countries in a way that is also meaningful for our local operations in those countries."
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Eston Sakala

Eston Sakala, Managing Director, Evolution Logistics and Solutions, Lusaka
Eston Sakala set up his own clearing and forwarding business in 2016 helping traders to move their goods in and out of Zambia – a profession he has been in for 17 years. In three short years he has grown his business from scratch to employ 18 staff with a customer base spanning Zambia’s key import and export sectors. “My goal now is to build capacity in my business, embrace technology and deliver my service to the level of a DHL,” says Eston. “I’d love to see the day when I can sit in front of my screen and watch trucks being processed by Evolution in real time, every minute, every hour. I want to be the go-to business for quick and correct clearances.”
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John Kornerup Bang

Head of Sustainability Strategy and Shared Value at Maersk
As one of the world’s largest integrated transport and logistics companies operating in 130 countries, Maersk is a major part of the global trading system. “International trade has helped lift over a billion people out of poverty. At the same time, we recognise that we need to make global trade available for everybody so that all can share in its benefits. That’s why a key pillar of our sustainability strategy is to multiply the benefits of trade by supporting countries to implement the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – and why we work with the Alliance to do it."
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Mark FeDuke

Director of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs at ArdoVLM
ArdoVLM is an international food trading company moving frozen fruits and vegetables, animal proteins and grains across the world from field to market. “You can be in business and do well by doing good and we are big believers in leveraging trade to deliver positive outcomes in developing countries."
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