The Ministry of Public Works and Transport plans to look into building a road that connects the Sihanoukville port with the under-construction Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, to reduce traffic congestion and the frequent road accidents that occur along National Road 4, as well as facilitate the transportation of goods to and from the Kingdom’s sole deep-water seaport.
Public works minister Sun Chanthol revealed the decision at a July 22 meeting with a delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tokyo’s overseas development arm, noting that the studies for the potential road will be for phases II and III of the port’s new container terminal, according to a statement issued by the ministry later that day.
For reference, the ministry has said that the terminal is planned to break ground at the end of this year and be built in three phases, with each set to be ready for operation in 2025, 2028 and 2030, respectively.
Chanthol affirmed that the companies involved in the construction of the new terminal would be selected based on certain qualifications, namely the use of state-of-the-art technology, efficiency, productivity and strong security standards, to ensure the proper implementation of the procedures outlined by JICA.
Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia (Loscba) president Chea Chandara said a road connecting the port and the expressway could provide a viable alternative for transport purposes, noting that National Road 4 is often congested, especially when there are flooding-related closures.
The road and associated infrastructure “would improve the transportation system, making Cambodia’s transport and logistics sector more competitive, and the arrangement of more shortcuts will make it easier to travel, and particularly to avoid heavy traffic”, he said.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy told The Post that the new terminal would allow larger ships to dock, but also bump up overland traffic, causing congestion, especially on the way out of the port.
He voiced confidence that the proposed road would help remedy the issue, adding that the Kingdom’s first expressway would not only reduce travel times between the capital and the coastal town, but also trim logistics costs.
The ministry expects to soft-launch the 187.05km expressway on October 1, free-of-charge for commuters in the first month. Breaking ground in March 2019, the $2 billion thoroughfare connects Samrong Krom commune’s Village 1 of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district to Village 1 in Commune III of Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville.
And after each of the three phases is completed, Sihanoukville’s new terminal will respectively have a length of 350m, 400m, and 430m; depth of 14.50m, 16.50m, and 17.50m; and the capacity to handle vessels up to 4,000 TEUs or 60,000 DWT (deadweight-tonnage), 10,000 TEUs or 120,000 DWT, and 15,000 TEUs or 160,000 DWT, according to Lou Kim Chhun, director-general of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS), the public-listed state-owned enterprise that operates that port.