A new container terminal at the Sihanoukville port was inaugurated on March 1, in a ceremony presided over by Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun and Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno.

The container freight station (CFS) is located in the Japan-funded Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone (SPSEZ), which is managed by the public-listed Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS).

Chamroeun said Japan has provided support to various sectors in Cambodia, such as in building and improving infrastructure – including roads, bridges, drainage and water supply – as well as in public health, education, demining and human resource development, among other fields.

He said the deep-water Sihanoukville port plays an important role in national economic development.

“We received a financial grant for the container freight station that we are launching today. In the near future, we will take possession of two mobile harbour cranes – also gifts from the Japanese government,” he said.

Chamroeun stressed the importance of Japanese assistance in both human resource training at the port and the construction of infrastructure.

He said the PAS has already received a concessional loan from Japan for the construction of the SPSEZ, the construction of a new 400m container port and a 350m multi-purpose port, the conversion of the shore port into a 253m container port and three phases of a deep-water container project.

Ueno said the Japanese government has provided funding to the port to improve the quality of the SPSEZ, which he said is important for international logistics companies.

He added that Japan and Cambodia have agreed to cooperate “to the maximum extent” to ensure the port could function as a core facility, not only for Cambodia but the entire Mekong region. He hopes the construction of warehouses for AEON, a well-known Japanese company in the SPSEZ, would attract more Japanese businesses to invest in the port.

“I hope that the launching of this terminal will contribute to further development of the SPSEZ and bring more Japanese companies to invest in Preah Sihanouk province,” he continued.

In November 2022, Cambodia and Japan agreed to upgrade their bilateral relations to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, under which the two countries will work more closely to address challenges, including on the regional and international stages, as well as expanding operations in all areas.

International political observers are moderately confident that Tokyo will continue to provide Cambodia with significant assistance in economic development, infrastructure, and a host of other areas going forward, while the Kingdom supports Japan in international politics.