THE Asia Development Bank (ADB) announced Wednesday it had formally voted to extend a previously announced US$42 million low-interest loan to complete the rehabilitation of Cambodia’s railways.
The loan represents the second half of the ADB’s $84 million commitment to the $141 million repair project, with the remainder of the funds coming from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and the governments of Cambodia, Australia and Malaysia, ADB spokesman Chantha Kim said Wednesday.
“This upgraded rail network will position Cambodia as a true sub-regional transport hub, creating new jobs and business opportunities,” said Peter Broch, senior transport economist at the ADB’s Southeast Asia department in a press release.
Freight service in the Kingdom had been halted during repairs. According to the ADB’s press release, the Phnom Penh-Kampot stretch will reopen in 2011 and the remainder of the network by 2013.
Sok Naty, secretary of the Railway Construction Committee, said in October that the plan had been to open the full Southern Line – between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville – by 2011. ADB and railway officials did not return requests for comment on the apparent discrepancy Wednesday.
Cambodia’s rail lines do not extend to either Thailand or Vietnam, Sok Naty has said.
With Vietnam’s September announcement it would build a line from Ho Chi Minh City to the border, the Kingdom represents the last missing section on a line from Singapore to Kunming, China.