Projects funded by Chinese concessional loans and grants have reached a total value of over $3.3 billion, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). The funding has resulted in the construction of over 3,000km of roads, with an ongoing request for China to expedite budget allocation for further rehabilitation and repairs.

Deputy Prime Minister and first vice-chair of the CDC Sun Chanthol, elaborated on the status of road infrastructure projects under these funds, during the first anniversary of the Phnom Penh-Sihanuokville Expressway (PPSHV Expressway) last week.

He highlighted the completion and ongoing construction of projects totaling $3.34 billion, including 31 road projects with a budget of approximately $2.181 billion, which span 3,077.5km.

He noted that the road construction initiative is currently progressing with six lines, covering 557.62km with a budget of roughly $675.87 million. 

He added that the construction of a 1.7km bridge across the Mekong River in Kratie province is underway, with a budget of $111.98 million. Aditionally, ten major bridges spanning over 10.8km ahev been completed, budgeted at about $372.15 million.

Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian, reaffirmed China’s position as Cambodia’s largest trading partner and primary investment source.

He cited the collaborative Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, including the PPSHV Expressway, the ongoing construction of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway (PP-Bavet Expressway) and the Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI). 

“These projects will enable Cambodia to establish an appropriate and convenient high-speed and airway network, thereby promoting the country’s economic development,” he said.

Despite receiving substantial assistance from China, Chanthol emphasised the country’s need for further Chinese support to continue building infrastructure vital for connecting the country with China and other ASEAN nations. 

He requested expedited concessional loan procedures for the repair of the 20-kilometre-long Kampot-Veal Rinh National Road 3 (NR 3), which is currently in a state of disrepair and hinders public travel.

Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA), acknowledged that China’s aid in developing infrastructure has significantly accelerated the transport sector’s growth, particularly in expanding trade with neighbouring countries and other key global trading partners.

“As a developing country, Cambodia greatly benefits from this logistics and transport infrastructure. The support from China and other amicable nations in building bridges, roads, ports and airports, has substantially contributed to the development of the Cambodian economy,” he said.

Chanthol also highlighted ongoing projects, including the refurbishing of NR 7, the development of a wastewater treatment system in Sihanoukville and the PP-Bavet Expressway. He urged for expedited implementation of these projects. 

According to the CDC, significant progress has been made in the eagerly awaited Bassac-Kep river navigation and logistics system, the country’s first major waterway transportation project, called the Techo Funan Canal. The Framework Agreement (FA) for the project was signed on October 17 in China. 

Chanthol has advocated for an increase in Chinese experts to expedite the swift and comprehensive completion of the detailed feasibility study on the project.

He highlighted the importance of other key initiatives, particularly the feasibility study for a third expressway between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Poipet. 

The minister has called for expedited research to move the project forward more quickly, aiming to ensure its completion within the timeframe of the seventh legislature.