Lou Kim Chhun, government delegate in charge as chairman and CEO of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, said he was determined to push the development of a new container terminal and deep-water port in Sihanoukville.

Kim Chhun announced his intention during the 6th Sihanoukville Autonomous Port stakeholder meeting on June 9. He said that on behalf of staff and workers at the port, he would drive the development of the facility so it became one of the region’s busiest hubs, in the spirit of the wishes of the prime ministers of Cambodia and Japan in March last year.

The container terminal construction broke ground on May 1, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno.

“The first phase of the container terminal will increase the volume and efficiency of the cargo handled by the port, and will contribute to the national economy accordingly,” said Kim Chhun.

He added that in the five-year span from 2018 to 2022, docking at the port increased 10 per cent per annum, causing cargo to become congested. Currently, 12 companies with a total of 18 ships use the port regularly.

According to Kim Chhun, the first phase of the container terminal construction will cost $203 million. The terminal is 350m, with a depth of 14.5m. The construction should be ready in mid-2026 and would enable expected annual container throughput (TEUs) of 450,000 per year.

The second phase, a 400m terminal with a depth of 16.5m, will be completed in 2028 and will also have a TEU of 450,000 per year. It will be able to receive vessels from India and the Pacific region.

The third phase would be longer and deeper again, at 430m in length and a depth of 17.5m. The third phase will have an estimated TEU of 617,000 per annum, and will be able to handle the largest container ships of Europe and North America.

The new terminals will reduce freight costs and will contribute to Cambodia’s economic growth, explained Kim Chhun.