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$50B infrastructure plan en route

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A portion of National Road 5 stretching from Battambang town in Battambang province to Banteay Meanchey province’s Sisophon town was constructed at a cost of over $143 million. MPWT

$50B infrastructure plan en route

The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15.

At the meeting, Chanthol said the government was preparing the master plan, to strengthen and expand road infrastructure and connect major thoroughfares – especially international border checkpoints – in order to increase Cambodia’s competitiveness, attract foreign investment, and reduce logistics and transport costs and avoid delays.

He said the plan will encompass about 330 projects, including road construction, renovations, widening and other upgrades; connectivity improvements to speed up travel and freight transport; and supporting infrastructure at international border checkpoints.

Chea Chandara, president of the recently-renamed Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia (Loscba), told The Post on June 16 that the plan would remedy Cambodia’s shortcomings in logistics and transportation, noting that the Kingdom lacks sufficient state-of-the-art equipment and a deep-sea port that can accommodate larger vessels.

“The transport sector is like a guide for the flow of economic activity. If transportation works well, domestic economic flows will be good and the number of foreign investors will increase accordingly,” he said.

Chandara also pointed out that the ministry plans to build the Phnom Penh Logistics Centre (PPLC) – on 98ha west of the airport in Samrong Krom commune – which would serve as a transport and warehousing hub equipped with modern systems.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, underscored that now is the time to invest in roads and logistics, saying that the associated projects would provide many positives for economic growth, and help fulfil the government’s commitment to transform Cambodia into a high-middle-income country by 2030.

“This $50 billion transport and logistics master plan is well worth it for Cambodia to seize the competitive advantage of logistics,” he said, suggesting that the plan would also help ensure the availability of optimal cargo handling equipment.

The transport minister says his ministry has made remarkable progress on major projects such as Phase I of a new container terminal at the Sihanoukville port with a depth of 14.5m that is set to be finished 2025, as well as Port EDI, an electronic data exchange system for ports designed to speed up the entry-exit procedures for vessels.

Other projects include the expansion and upgrade of national roads 5 and 7; modernisation of the railway; waterway transport improvements, including a link from the capital to the Kep coastal port via the Tonle Bassac river; and the construction of a bridge across the Mekong River in Kratie province and a road connecting Battambang and Kampong Thom provinces.

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