Cambodia Investment Review

Leader Talks: Claudine Lim & Sovathara Heng on InfraCo Asia’s $7.29M Investment in Khmer Cold Chain

Leader Talks: Claudine Lim & Sovathara Heng on InfraCo Asia’s $7.29M Investment in Khmer Cold Chain

Cambodia Investment Review

InfraCo Asia, a part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), recently inaugurated Cambodia’s first cross-docking and cold storage facility together with Khmer Cold Chain (KCC). Strategically positioned adjacent to the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, the KCC facility offers about 6,000 cubic meters of temperature-controlled storage along with comprehensive cross-docking services.

The project – developed in partnership with the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port and grant support from PIDG Technical Assistance and USAID– comes after a study by the World Food Logistics Organization pointed out that Cambodia required an additional 140,000 cubic metres of cold storage capacity by 2030 to meet its growing supply chain demands.

The Acute Need For Additional Cold Storage Capacity In Cambodia

Speaking to CIR Leader Talks, Claudine Lim, the CEO of InfraCo Asia, shared her insights on the project’s inception and the strategic foresight that went into it. “Our journey began with a revealing study in 2019 by the World Food Logistics Organisation, which mapped out the acute need for additional cold storage capacity in Cambodia. Taking this as our cue, we embarked on this ambitious project to address this gap  in line with PIDG’s goal to increase sustainable infrastructure in the region,” Lim explained.

Read more: Cambodia’s Agriculture Sector Set for Revamp: Mechanization and Private Investment Key to Future Growth

The investment in the KCC facility is substantial and well-structured, with InfraCo Asia  committing US$7.29 million to the project. This funding is allocated to various critical components of the project, including the newly-launched cross-docking and cold storage facility in Kandal Province and the development of an expansive phase 2 project in Phnom Penh which aims to provide approximately 30,000 more cubic meters of space.

Claudine Lim, the CEO of InfraCo Asia.

Lim elaborated, “Our investment is a balanced blend of infrastructure development and capacity building. By integrating gender empowerment programs and comprehensive HSES training, we are ensuring that the KCC project is not just about physical infrastructure but also about nurturing a more inclusive and skilled community around it.”

Looking ahead, InfraCo Asia’s vision encompasses more than just the operational success of the KCC facility. The company is already laying the groundwork for the next phase of expansion, which promises to significantly increase the facility’s capacity and reach.

“Our expansion plans are aligned with PIDG’s mission to mobilize finance for infrastructure where it’s most needed. The upcoming facility in Phnom Penh is not just an expansion; it’s a strategic enhancement of KCC’s existing capabilities in facilitating last-mile delivery, in tandem with the services offered by the current cross-docking and storage facility, to further augment the cold storage ecosystem in Cambodia” Lim stated, underscoring the long-term vision of the project.

Combating The Challenge Of High Electricity Costs In Cambodia

On the operational front, Mr. Sovathara Heng, the Director of Khmer Cold Chain, shed light on the innovative strategies employed to combat the challenge of high electricity costs in Cambodia. “We are conscious of the operational costs and the environmental impact of our operations.

Hence, we’ve adopted a blend of technology and sustainable practices. From rooftop solar panels that tap into renewable energy to insulated dock doors that minimize energy loss, every element of our facility is designed to ensure maximum efficiency,” he remarked.

Heng emphasized the importance of these measures, stating, “Our operational strategies are not just about cost savings; they’re about ensuring that every product that passes through our facility maintains its quality and integrity.

It’s a comprehensive approach where energy efficiency, staff training, and technological integration come together to create a reliable and efficient supply chain solution.”

Mr. Sovathara Heng, the Director of Khmer Cold Chain.

The broader implications of the KCC project, especially for the agricultural sector and exports, are profound. Heng elaborated on the multifaceted initiatives undertaken to ensure that the benefits of the facility permeate down to the grassroots level.

“Our focus is not just on enhancing the storage and logistics capabilities. We are equally invested in empowering the local SMEs and smallholder farmers. From offering value-added services like direct delivery, packaging and labeling to streamlining logistics, our initiatives are designed to bolster the competitiveness of Cambodian agri-products on a global scale,” Sovathara added.

Most recently, KCC signed an operating agreement with Linfox, Asia Pacific’s largest privately owned logistics company. The partnership will leverage Linfox’s extensive experience and global reach in assuming a pivotal role to oversee the entire spectrum of commercial and warehouse operations at the cross-docking facility. InfraCo Asia’s investment in the KCC facility represents a significant milestone in Cambodia’s journey towards infrastructural development and economic resilience. With its well-rounded approach to infrastructure development, InfraCo Asia is not just hoping to transform the landscape of Cambodia’s supply chains but also set a benchmark for sustainable and inclusive infrastructure projects in the region.

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