EXPANSION of Phnom Penh Autonomous Port could start as early as January 2010 with the aid of a US$30 million loan from China, port Director Hy Bavy said Monday.
The money is part of an $853 million loan and grant package for Cambodian infrastructure projects pledged by Beijing Friday during Prime Minister Hun Sen’s three-day visit to China.
The expansion, which is due to take two and a half years, will be contracted to a Chinese company, though the name of the firm will not be announced until January, Hy Bavy said.
The work is expected to boost the port’s handling capacity 500 percent to around 5 million tonnes per year. The 300-metre-long port, which was built in 1951, can handle around 1 million tonnes per year currently, or about 50,000 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs).
“Through this expansion project, we hope the ... port will be able to boost its shipment services and handle many more containers,” Hy Bavy said.
An additional $10 million will be needed for loading and unloading equipment, port documents show.
Hy Bavy said he expected a rapid rise in goods shipped through the port due to its proximity to the Kingdom’s industrial base in Phnom Penh. The June launch of the Cai Mep deepwater port in southern Vietnam’s Ba Ria Vung Tau province has also increased the port’s competitiveness against Sihanoukville Autonomous Port due to its position on the Mekong River.
Port figures released this month show its throughput rose 22.7 percent year on year in September, following gains in both July and August, after losses in each of the first six months.