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Phnom Penh to HCMC rail studied

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The government is studying the possibility of a railway from Phnom Penh to Bavet town (pictured), the Cambodian-Vietnamese international border checkpoint. Photo supplied

Phnom Penh to HCMC rail studied

The government is studying the possibility of a railway from Phnom Penh to Bavet town, the Cambodian-Vietnamese international border checkpoint.

The project would contribute to better trade between the two countries, according to transportation sector insiders.

Ministry of Public Works and Transport undersecretary of state Ly Borin told The Post on Monday a new railway in Svay Rieng province is underway already. The railway construction study was started two to three months ago but the name of the company has not been revealed.

“It’s studying the feasibility and we do not know when the project will be completed.

“We are studying a railway connecting Snuol district, Kratie province and Bavet city, Svay Rieng province. The Vietnamese side asked us to build a railway from Phnom Penh to Bavet city. The Vietnamese side will build a railway from Ho Chi Minh City to Bavet,” Borin said.

Ministry of Public Works and Transport undersecretary of state Var Sim Sorya told The Post that railway development is the government’s second priority after roads because it promotes competition and cross-border trade.

“We must develop more rail to transport more of our goods to international markets. We see that Bavet city is an international border gateway with great transport potential. Economic activity in Svay Rieng province also has potential for agricultural and textile products from the Svay Rieng Special Economic Zone,” he said.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) President Sin Chanthy, said 40 per cent of goods transported from China to Cambodia pass through Vietnam. So if the project goes well, it will improve Cambodia’s transport infrastructure to maintain regional competitiveness, he said.

“We welcome and support the development of this railway project, which we hope will help lower our transportation costs, save time and reduce traffic congestion,” he said.

The two governments have pledged to boost bilateral trade to $5 billion this year.

Cambodia’s exports to the Vietnamese market from 2015 to 2018 reached more than $1.18 billion, while Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia amounted to $6.96 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. Trade between the countries reached $4.4 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, the government is also studying the possibility of building a high-speed road connecting Phnom Penh to Bavet city. It is being studied by the China Railway International Group Co Ltd.

At a meeting with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport last month company representatives said the study of the geographical situation and other impacts is moving forward gradually.

The company said it has identified three options for the project. The government is waiting for the results of a financial study report from the company due in mid-October.

The expressway plan has been studied once by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). The route is likely to be 135km and cost more than $2 billion.

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