Phnom Penh Autonomous Port’s (PPAP) new cargo terminal officially opened yesterday, a development reflecting the sharp increase in shipments moving through the country’s existing ports.
The new terminal, which cost more than $28 million, was financed by the Chinese government and is located in Kien Svay district of Kandal province, about 30 kilometres from the existing port in Phnom Penh.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the new terminal would play a vital role in dealing with the surge of cargo received by the country’s ports, adding that the number of containers has increased each year.
The premier said in 2008, the port processed 47,507 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
In 2009, the number dropped to 43,312 TEUs due to the global financial crisis and rose to 81,631 TEUs in 2010 before reaching 95,333 TEUs in 2012.
The port did not release any information about how much of this was for import and for export.
“Now the [old port capacity] is not compatible with the economic improvement of Cambodia. It requires the building of the new one,” said Hun Sen.
“[The new port] is able to handle nearly 75 per cent of the [total] amount of goods. This means that with the launch of operations today, we don’t stop the operation at Chroy Changva [the old port]; we still continue operating there.
“The new port can also facilitate the ship traffic, it will help to boost the economy. It is regarded as an important part of transportation for Cambodia.”
Public Works and Transportation Minister Tram Iv Tek, said the new port covers 10 hectares in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district and will be able to handle 120,000 TEUs per year in the first stage of development.
He said that PPAP is still in the process of seeking private partners to assemble high-tech facilities, including cranes and warehouses for the port’s second phase of development, with the aim of handling 300,000 TEUs annually.
Benjamin Paul Wilson, country manager of shipping firm Maersk Line Cambodia, said the opening of the new terminal is an important milestone for Cambodia. “Investment in infrastructure projects like this facilitates continued growth for Cambodia’s export-led economy. The modern facilities at the new container terminal bring higher productivity and capacity, which will cater for growth in container volumes in coming years,” said Wilson.
Hei Bavy, director general for PPAP, said Japan International Coorporation Agency is currently conducting a feasibility study on the prospect of building a new Phnom Penh Autonomous Port special economic zone on 600 to 1,000 hectares surrounding the new port.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]ost.com