Launched in 2013, Kerry Worldbridge Logistics Ltd. is a joint venture between Kerry Logistics – Asia’s premier logistics provider – and Worldbridge International (Cambodia), a leading local logistics and property development company with a broad network of transportation partners across the globe.
Bringing together the expertise of the founding companies, Kerry Worldbridge Logistics is developing one of the most innovative industrial parks in the Kingdom: the Kerry Worldbridge Special Economic Zone (KWB SEZ). Located 17 kilometers south of the Phnom Penh city centre, the KWB SEZ combines a customs bonded zone and a special economic zone over 63 hectares of land. Plans have been recently announced to focus the development of the SEZ into an Industrial & Technology Cluster with the German industrial site development team at InSite Bavaria.
“We set up this SEZ with a bonded warehouse with the vision of Cambodia becoming a logistics hub for efficient goods transit to Vietnam and Thailand,” says Kerry Worldbridge Logistics director Sear Rithy, who notes that the Kingdom is often bypassed when it comes to transnational shipments in lieu of neighboring countries that have better infrastructure.
Charles Esterhoy, CEO at KWB SEZ, says that their project will be the first to have both a licensed, class-A customs bonded area, a SEZ and comprehensive Investor Support services on the same premises. “This is a new concept not found anywhere else in the Kingdom and is specifically designed to provide investors with a truly ‘one stop’ and convenient location for their import/export, manufacturing and trading activities.”
“Our customs bonded area is further unique in that it will feature not only traditional warehousing and open yard facilities but also a series of 13 smaller ‘bonded showrooms’.” These smaller buildings can be fit out according to customer activities and needs such as demonstration or exhibits, secured or clean rooms, pick and pack operations etc.
Esterhoy explains that the real advantage, however, lies in the fact that the bonded warehouse offers additional services that add value to the investor’s supply chain activities, becoming a significant part of that supply chain.
A key component of the comprehensive Investor Services concept at the KWB SEZ is the One Stop Service Center (OSSC) building. The OSSC is a 3,000sqm facility that will provide access to the SEZ’s administrative, investor support and operations teams, who will be located alongside officials from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, CamControl and the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). In addition, we are looking at establishing serviced offices and or incubator spaces so as to bring service providers and the growing ICT sector closer to the Cluster.
Esterhoy says they have worked closely with the GDCE and the RGC in planning their offices at the OSSC. Our objective is to ensure that they and SEZ Investors are able to meet easily, consult and access the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) as well as future access to other Ministry on line systems.
The $100 million project aims to attract non-garment manufacturing investment, particularly light manufacturing, automotive and industries that rely on advanced technology. Within the context of ASEAN integration, and given Cambodia’s strategic, central location inside the region, Esterhoy foresees the SEZ will enable manufacturers to expand their production models and operating sites to multiple countries.
Esterhoy says that the SEZ was conceived with the long-term interests and development of the Kingdom in mind. “We are aggressively engaging to find solutions to problems that beset the Kingdom’s potential for future industrial growth such as high electricity costs, better worker skills development and the hurdles associated with the ease and cost efficiency of moving goods and materials,” he explains.
The company’s commitment to finding solutions to those challenges was evidenced last week, when Kerry Worldbridge partnered up with German consultancy and management firm InSite Bavaria. The partnership has resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to address the barriers that deter German manufacturers from establishing substantial manufacturing activities in the Kingdom. In addition, the new partnership will explore the means needed to develop new types of sustainable infrastructure, energy solutions, vocational skills training, regulatory recommendations and conduct bilateral trade missions between Cambodia and Germany.
KWB SEZ was designed to be built in three phases, starting with the development of the 17 hectares allocated to the customs bonded warehouse zone. Phase two and three will focus on developing the 43-hectare SEZ and bringing in manufacturing investment over the next 3-5 years.