The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has expressed commitment to support the development of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) by continuing to provide grant aid and loans after it transferred its shares of PAS to Japanese logistic firm Kamigumi Co Ltd.
The announcement came after Jica’s director-general of Southeast Asia and Pacific Department Shigenori Ogawa visited PAS on Friday and discussed future cooperation for the port at a meeting.
Jica’s announcement after the meeting said it will continue to support PAS in all aspects of the port’s development and promote the Special Economic Zone through grant aid, technical cooperation and concessional loans.
Jica’s announcement revealed that both parties are scheduled to sign on a collaboration agreement in June.
PAS chairman and CEO Lou Kim Chhun said on Sunday that the port’s cargo traffic had accelerated massively with a growth rate of between 10 and 15 per cent annually, so it is very important to have Jica’s collaboration to draw up a strategy for future development.
“We are so happy to receive collaboration from Japan. Working with them will make things more efficient,” he said.
He said up to now, PAS had collaborated with Jica since 1997 and besides grant aid and technical assistance, Jica had provided around $380 million in total loans to PAS.
“We are able to pay the loans with interest to Japan regularly and timely and are still able to profit from operations,” he said.
When the port listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange in June 2017, Jica bought a 13.5 per cent stake – the first time it had acquired equity in an assistance target.
It is the second-largest shareholder after the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance, which has a 75 per cent stake. The initial public offering also attracted another Japanese investor, Kamigumi, a major logistics service provider, which acquired two per cent of outstanding shares.
However, earlier this month, Jica transferred all of its shares of PAS to Kamigumi.
“Jica, together with Japanese companies which have abundant experience in port management, will continue to provide varied cooperation for the further development of Sihanoukville Port,” read a Jica statement issued on Friday.