The hotly anticipated Bassac-Kep river navigation and logistics system, the first-of-its-kind waterway transportation project in Cambodia, has been renamed “Funan Techo Canal”, according to the minutes of a May 19 Cabinet meeting.

The meeting went over the latest developments and details of the project. The minutes recapped that the feasibility study for the project was conducted over a 26-month period, and that the undertaking will have an estimated cost of $1.7 billion, taking four years to complete.

The 180km waterway link will connect Prek Takeo of the Mekong River System, to the Prek Ta Ek and Prek Ta Hing of the Bassac River System, and to Kep province, crossing Kandal, Takeo and Kampot provinces. Highlighted features include three watergates, 11 bridges and 208km of roads on either side of the waterway.

The Cabinet emphasised that project would reduce travel times and distances as well as transportation costs, in addition to creating new trade hubs.

The Cambodia National Mekong Committee has been tasked with keeping in contact with Mekong River Commission members to ensure that the project aligns with the 1995 Mekong Agreement.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth has been entrusted to lead subsequent studies and preparations for the undertaking, prioritising attention to details in every aspect, and to report findings to the broader government.