The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation is looking at the potential of enhancing the waterway connection between Phnom Penh’s port and a deep sea port in Vietnam in an attempt to slash the Kingdom’s transportation costs.
Speaking at a seminar yesterday on water connectivity, Public Works and Transportation Minister, Tram Iv Tek, said his ministry was conducting a feasibility study with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to make way for larger-vessel trade between Phnom Penh and Cai Mep, a container terminal port in Vietnam’s southeastern coastline.
“Cambodia’s inland waterways have the capacity of carrying [vessels] from Vietnam or any third country such as China, Singapore, and the European Union to Phnom Penh with potentially low costs,” he said at a seminar in Phnom Penh.
“We want the Phnom Penh Port, which we have already expanded, to be a hub for big vessels in Cambodia.”
According to JICA advisor Hidetoshi Kume, it takes 5 hours for goods to reach Vietnam from Phnom Penh over land but 40 hours using waterways.
Because of shallow waters, around half of riverine access between Phnom Penh and Cai Mep is limited to 100- to 150-tonne vessels.
Economic analyst Srey Chanthy said the ministry’s initiative would boost Cambodia’s trade capabilities, if successful.
“Our port in Sihanoukville has shallow water, and is limited to receiving 1,000- to 5,000-tonne vessels, while Cai Mep port can receive ships up to 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes,” he said.