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Japanese aid will treble port's capacity

Japanese aid will treble port's capacity

W ORK has begun on a $30 million Japanese-funded renovation of Phnom Penh's river

port, to allow bigger ships carrying more cargo to dock there.

The port's

cargo-handling capacity is expected to be trebled, from about 170,000 tonnes a

year to 570,000 tonnes, by the project.

The 22-month reconstruction will

extend the port's jetty from 180 to 300 meters, and increase its width by eight

meters to 20 meters.

The work would mean that up to 6,000 tones ships

would be able to use the port even in the low water season, port deputy director

Miech Yan said. Since 1980 the port had only allowed ships unloading 10 to 12

tones of cargo to dock.

King Norodom Sihanouk, at a ceremony earlier this

month to launch the project, said the port, along with Cambodia's only seaport

at Sihanoukville, were "most important for the development of our social and

economic fields".

The port renovation is being carried out by Japan's

Penta-Ocean Construction, Pacific Consultants International and Sumitomo Corp in

cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works.

Miech Yan said

2023 ships docked in the port last year, almost double the 1025 the previous

year. Singapore, Thailand, Korea and China were the biggest users of the port,

mostly importing drinks, cigarettes and construction materials such as cement

and steel. He complained that Vietnamese ships often did not dock in the port -

instead illegally mooring along the Bassac River in areas of Kandal province -

and avoided paying port tariffs. "This I consider a big problem because it loses

a lot of income for our country."

Port tariffs remained the same as they

had been under the former State of Cambodia regime, he said, with local ships

paying less than foreign ones.

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