Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP), a river-port operator listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), on September 20 inaugurated the Step 3, Phase I development of its LM17 Container Terminal to meet growing container throughput.
With a total investment of $18.4 million, Step 3 is on 2.75ha north of the Step 1 and 2 developments in Kien Svay district’s Banteay Dek commune of Kandal province a few kilometres east of the capital.
Breaking ground in late 2019, the new development was built by Shanghai Construction through an international public bidding process.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, PPAP director-general Hei Bavy lauded Step 3 as “another new achievement” for the state-owned river-port operator, saying funding for the project comes from its profits and savings allocated to enterprise development.
Rising throughput, despite Covid-19, required additional infrastructure for LM17 beyond steps 1 and 2, he said, adding that the new development adds 100,000 TEUs to the current annual handling capacity, for a total of 400,000.
A TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity used in the shipping industry roughly equivalent to a container with internal dimensions measuring about 20 feet long, eight feet wide and 8.5 feet tall, or a volume roughly 38.5 cubic metres.
While container throughput at the port rose 3.49 per cent from 281,043 TEUs in 2019 to 290,857 last year, the annual average is far greater, at 15-18 per cent, PPAP noted in a press release.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol highlighted how remarkable it was that PPAP was able to shoulder the costs of developing a Step 3 for LM17’s Phase I through savings alone.
He underscored that the increased capacity for storage and lift-on lift-off cargo services – as opposed to roll-on roll-off – could significantly boost Cambodia’s economic growth.
“This port will play an increasingly important role in transporting goods into as well as from Cambodia to sell abroad.
“We will do our best to push for more waterway transport, to help reduce traffic accidents, cut down freight forwarding costs and mitigate road damage as well,” he said.
Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy told The Post that the Covid-19 crisis has devastated the global transport sector, including Cambodia’s, but that the situation has begun to show gradual improvements.
“I am very optimistic that the transport sector in Cambodia will recover very soon, now that the government has reopened most economic and educational activities, and plans to open its doors to fully vaccinated international tourists as well,” he said.
Chanthol added the Ministry of Public Works and Transport had completed a master plan for the transport sector that heavily focuses on water transport, emphasising that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the World Bank and other institutions were involved in the drafting process.
On the occasion, the minister also mentioned the possibility of connecting the capital to the LM17 terminal via railway.
PPAP’s Bevy said the infrastructure for Step 3 would be upgraded and expanded in Phase II of LM17 – scheduled for 2022-2023 – to add 100,000 TEU to the annual handling capacity.
And a 9ha Step 4 is also in the pipeline for 2024-2030, to increase the annual handling capacity by another 400,000 TEUs, for a total of 900,000 TEUs by 2030, he said.