The opening of a privately-run port in Koh Kong province, named Koh Kong Port, marks an important step in streamlining the transportation of goods, particularly between Cambodia and China.

The facility – located in Kiri Sakor district’s Koh Sdech village and operated by Koh Kong Port Management Co Ltd – underwent its first test with a large cargo vessel docking during the September 25 inauguration.

With a depth of 11.2m, the port can host two ships of 10,000 tonnes or more simultaneously. This infrastructure development is seen as a pivotal step towards enhanced economic ties and cooperation with China, officials said.

Koh Kong Port CEO Gao Liang described on September 26 how the port represents a crucial development in strengthening economic relations between the two nations.

“The port will greatly facilitate direct transport of goods between our countries,” he said.

He noted that construction is being segmented into three phases, with the initial phase covering approximately 70 per cent of the company’s total 15ha of land.

“The purpose of this pilot period is to identify gaps in our processes, so the company can improve,” he added.

He highlighted the port’s ability to bypass the need for transit through neighbouring countries, offering substantial savings and efficiency.

“Most of the goods will pass through the port are agricultural products. I expect that farmers’ products can be exported directly to China in large quantities,” he said.

Chea Chandara, president of the Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia, commended the improved infrastructure relating to the transportation sector, particularly citing inland waterway transportation as the most cost-effective mode.

Koh Kong Deputy Governor Neary Neth announced during the opening ceremony that the port will connect to National Road 48, a vital economic artery linking Smach Meanchey commune in Khemarak Phoumin town to National Road 4, currently undergoing upgrades.

The facility is the first international seaport in the province which can handle hundreds of tonnes of cargo per annum.

June saw the inauguration of the province’s Dong Tung Port in Khemarak Phoumin town, which is expected to handle tourism vessels and smaller craft. The two facilities exemplify the Kingdom’s expanding maritime infrastructure.