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    DB SCHENKER marks decade of logistics in Cambodia: Interview with Branch Manager Petro Zemlianskyi

    This year marks a significant milestone for DB SCHENKER in Cambodia as they celebrate their 10th anniversary as an international freight forwarder in the country. Prior to its official registration as DB SCHENKER (Cambodia) in 2014, the company operated through a local partner. Petro Zemlianskyi, the newly appointed Branch Manager since 2023, brings a wealth of experience in 3PL across Europe, MEA, and Central Asia. We asked Petro some questions about his vision for DB SCHENKER in this rapidly evolving market that currently sees a recovery in trade flow.  

    Could you tell us about your background and your role at DB SCHENKER in Cambodia?

    Petro: In my career within the logistics sector, I have had the opportunity to work across various emerging markets. I moved to Cambodia in 2019, drawn by its high potential and strategic location in the ASEAN region. As the Branch Manager for DB SCHENKER, my primary task is to oversee operations and drive business development working closely with local partners, using our wide-ranging experience in logistics and extensive international network. 

    Petro Zemlianskyi – Cambodia Branch Manager

    How do you view the current business landscape in Cambodia, particularly in relation to the logistics sector?

    Petro: Like many countries, I’ve observed Cambodia facing a slowdown in exports in 2023 due to global economic challenges. Despite the hurdles, I’m now seeing Cambodia experience steady economic growth, contributing to the expansion of various sectors, including logistics. Impressively, Cambodia stands as one of fastest-growing economies in the ASEAN region, with the Asian Development Bank predicting a 6% growth in 2024.

    What does the economic growth mean for foreign investment and the logistics sector?

    Petro: I'm glad to see Cambodia's investment environment becoming friendlier to foreign investors. The government's efforts are clearly focused on attracting more foreign investment. These efforts are really paying off, which is good news for the logistics sector. According to numbers published by the The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), Cambodia's fixed-asset investment rose by 22%, reaching USD $4.92 billion, in 2023. That's impressive. The EuroCham Business Confidence Survey 2023 is also positive. It shows that 62% of businesses plan to invest more in Cambodia within a year. I personally see this as a great sign for our economy's growth and diversification.

    As Cambodia diversifies its economy, what challenges and developments are you observing?

    Petro: I see Cambodia looking for diversification of its economy and broadening its focus beyond the garment industry. One of the interesting industries to look at for example is car manufacturing. For me, this means there's a real need for better roads, ports, and logistics support to meet the demands of these industries but also skill development. The supply chain requirements for automotive manufacturing are quite different from those of the garment industry, demanding a distinct skill set. Currently, the country faces challenges with insufficient infrastructure for both domestic and international transport. But I'm encouraged by the government's commitment to infrastructure development. An example is the expansion of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, which is a significant step towards enabling Cambodia to accommodate larger container vessels. Phase one of this project is scheduled for completion in 2026. This progress is quite exciting to witness. 

    What opportunities do you see for businesses in Cambodia?

    Petro: I firmly believe Cambodia's market potential outweighs its challenges. Businesses can benefit from the young workforce and lower salaries, for example, especially compared to some other countries in Asia. Investments in new infrastructure and participation in regional trade agreements like RCEP will open markets and benefit businesses. Looking ahead, I expect a big increase in cross-border trade, driven by growing local demand and the expanding intra-ASEAN trade.

    Logistics in Cambodia: Overview of Cambodia's Airports and Seaports

    What advice would you give businesses to optimize their supply chains in Cambodia?

    Petro: From my experience, businesses need to prioritize building strong relationships with local partners and keeping up with regulatory compliance. They should also tackle infrastructure challenges head-on, such as infrastructure obstacles and customs procedures. I believe flexibility and adaptability are crucial for success here. You must be ready to quickly adapt your supply chain strategy if something changes in the market. I also recommend investing in training and development, particularly in supply chain management and logistics. We take this seriously and actively contribute to developing logistics skills. For instance, last year, two of our colleagues from Air Freight and Ocean Freight, joined a career event at the Paragon International University and the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre in Phnom Pehn, helping students develop skills in international logistics. 

    How does DB SCHENKER contribute to Cambodia's logistics infrastructure?

    Petro: As an international freight forwarder, we're in a great position to use our expertise to make the logistics industry in the country more efficient. We do this for example by constantly looking at ways to introduce advanced warehousing solutions and look for opportunities together with our customers to make their supply chains more sustainable. My aim is always to tailor supply chain strategies to local market challenges and opportunities. With our truck fleet, we are also a big enabler of cross-border trade. We are already witnessing a strong growth in cross border trucking to Thailand for example. We have a huge land transport set up in Thailand where we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year. Our Cambodia land team works closely with the land teams in the neighboring countries to make the cross-border land transport as efficient as possible.  

    With Cambodia being highly vulnerable to climate change, how is your company addressing sustainability in its operations?

    At DB SCHENKER, sustainability is a fundamental part of our operations. This is especially important for a climate-sensitive country like Cambodia. We are dedicated to being a sustainable logistics provider, and we constantly look for opportunities to invest in innovative transport solutions. It's all about making a difference and staying ahead in the game. Take our cross-border trucking operations, for example. We use specialized calculations to minimize trips with empty trucks. By implementing such strategies, we aim to significantly improve both the efficiency and sustainability of the logistics industry in every country where we operate.

    As you celebrate the 10th anniversary of DB SCHENKER in Cambodia, what is your vision for the future?

    Petro: Looking ahead, our goal is to actively contribute to the growth of the Cambodian logistics industry. We do this by constantly looking at ways to innovate, strengthening local partnerships, integrating sustainability initiatives into our operations, and by maintaining a customer-centric approach. I'm particularly proud of our Cambodia team, who are instrumental in this process. Furthermore, I'm enthusiastic about applying our logistics expertise to other industries such as automotive and healthcare, supporting the diversification of the economy. Together with our international teams, we will continue to develop new products and services to help our customers in Cambodia to run their business in the most efficient way. 

    Finally, what message would you like to share with DB SCHENKER’s customers and business partners on this milestone?

    Petro: I want to express my gratitude to our customers and business partners for trusting and collaborating with us over the past 10 years. Our commitment to delivering excellent logistics solutions remains strong, and I'm excited about our growth, innovation, and ongoing collaboration in Cambodia's dynamic business landscape. 

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