Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tycoon looks to expand and deepen private Sihanoukville seaport

Tycoon looks to expand and deepen private Sihanoukville seaport

Tycoon Mong Reththy shows off a rubber plantation at his Sihanoukville ELC in 2011.
Tycoon Mong Reththy shows off a rubber plantation at his Sihanoukville ELC in 2011. Heng Chivoan

Tycoon looks to expand and deepen private Sihanoukville seaport

Agro-industrial tycoon Mong Reththy plans to expand his private port to handle bigger ships and containerised cargoes, increasing potential competition with the country’s principal port in Sihanoukville.

“We got approval from the government already to expand the port and now we are studying the location,” Reththy said yesterday. “We want to upgrade it to handle container shipments.”

Oknha Mong Port, also known as Keo Phos Port, is located in Koh Kong province about 45 kilometres north of Sihanoukville. The 27-hectare port became Cambodia’s first privately owned seaport when it began operations in 2004, and is now operated as part of a joint venture with Thai conglomerate TCC Group.

Oknha Mong Port’s 1-kilometre-long concrete berth currently serves mostly break-bulk vessels under 5,000 tonnes on account of its shallow 5-metre draft. However, Reththy plans to expand the port while deepening the navigation channel to allow the passage of much larger container vessels.

“In order to handle container ships, the port must be renovated and the channel deepened to eight metres, which will allow it to handle container vessels up to 10,000 tonnes,” he said, while declining to disclose investment cost estimates.

A Ministry of Transport official confirmed the government approved the port’s proposed expansion in August 2015, but has yet to see a master plan.

Meanwhile, officials at nearby Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP), which handled over 390,000 TEUs last year, shrugged off the threat of competition.

SAP director Lou Kim Chhun said the private port’s addition of container-handling facilities would give shipping firms more options, which is good for the economy as a whole.

“Once we have a new container port it will create a rival to our port [in Sihanoukville,]” he said.“Then we will compete on price, service and quality.”

SAP, however, is currently in the midst of its own expansion. Construction will increase the port’s draft from the existing 8.5 metres to 13.5 metres, and expand its handling capacity to 700,000 TEUs by 2020.

Nhiev Kol, general manager of container shipping company CMA-CGM (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said the company currently utilises Sihanoukville Port but might consider Oknha Mong Port for some shipments after its expansion.

“We need to consider the capacity of the port and its standard for handling our ships,” Kol said. “If the tariff, service and quality are good, we would welcome using the [private] port.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid