Cambodian garment factories thirsty for raw materials

The Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in southern Cambodia received more than 200 containers of raw materials from China on March 9.

Containers at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. (Source: Khmer Times)
Containers at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. (Source: Khmer Times)

The shipments are expected to fill the shortage in raw materials which has hampered the production of hundreds of garment factories.

However, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said these materials may not be enough to meet demands.

GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said that the garment sector needs 2,000 containers of raw materials to produce 1,000 containers of final products weekly.

Kun Nhim, director-general of the General Department of Customs and Excise, said the Chinese ship SITC JIANSU arrived at Cambodia’s port with 212 containers, of which 102 carried raw materials for garments.

During a national road inauguration in Pursat province on March 9, Prime Minister Hun Sen said seven ships of raw materials from China are set to arrive to help alleviate production setbacks in the country amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The shipment of raw materials, he said, will last until May, when it is expected to see COVID-19 fears abated and the operations of the affected garment factories resumed.

The GMAC last month said more than 60 percent of raw materials used in factories in the country are imported from China. Due to the shortage, government officials have estimated up to 30,000 garment factory workers could lose their jobs this month if the situation does not improve.