Industry players foresee a major upswing in the transport and logistics sector on the back of Phnom Penh’s under-construction third ring road, now 73.70 per cent completed and scheduled to be finished in the third quarter of 2023.

In counter-clockwise direction from the northeast, blueprints show that the road is to connect National Road 6 to Win-Win Street, transverse the Tonle Sap River and continue to National Road 5, Kob Srov Road, national roads 4, 3, 2, 21 and 21A before crossing the Bassac River through to National Road 1.

Two bridges across the Bassac River will also be built to link Koh Anlong Chin Island on both sides at a total length of 996m.

The road will then connect to Phnom Penh Autonomous Port’s LM17 container terminal in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district and back onto National Road 6 with an aggregate length of 52.98km.

The project is expected to cost $267.67 million, which will come from concessional financing by China, with a counterpart fund from the Cambodian government.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport notes that the ring road will be paved with asphalt concrete for long-term durability, as a major thoroughfare designed to improve traffic flows in the capital, make travel to economic hubs easier, and facilitate connections to the Asian Highways Network and the Greater Mekong Subregion’s main economic corridors.

The road will facilitate cross-border transportation, promote international trade, and spur development in adjacent areas, the ministry says.

Heang Vutha, director-general of the Technical Department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on May 29 that construction on the capital’s third ring road had been significantly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but that ministry experts and the construction companies are back to work as normal with the deadline in mind.

For the record, the road broke ground on January 14, 2019, and was initially expected to be completed in 2021.

Vutha said a recent “thorough” inspection found no major obstacles to the project, on any segment of the road, and stressed that quality would be a priority.

The inspection also served to provide input to the ministry’s Road Care Supervision system, as well as its Road Care app, which encourages the public to report general road damage, he said.

He added that his ministry has been planning a fourth ring road for the capital, but that the specifics of its routing could not be revealed at the moment, to avoid undue increases in property and land prices.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy said that with transport services returning to normality, the third ring road would be an invaluable asset for the domestic transport and logistics sector.

“We are in urgent need for the ring road, to avoid traffic jams in the city … and help improve our transportation and logistics, which will spur economic growth, along with the growth of exports and imports,” he told The Post.

Chea Chandara, president of the recently-renamed Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia (Loscba), noted that congestion remains a pervasive scourge in the capital, despite the first and second ring roads. He believes that the third ring road would make a meaningful dent in the traffic problem.

He suggested that the road would entice factories to relocate along its route, hence easing congestion in Phnom Penh, as well as encourage development in the capital’s periphery.

“As a player in the transport and supply chain sector in Cambodia, we truly want more ring roads, to facilitate transportation and boost economic growth,” Chandara said.