Construction of a new multipurpose seaport terminal in Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) will be finished in May, according to government officials and port representatives.
Speaking during the Rice Forum in Phnom Penh on Monday, Phan Phalla, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, announced that the new terminal will be operational by June, adding that it will increase PAS’s capacity to handle bigger vessels and reduce shipping costs.
“The new facility will make it easier for exporters to ship their cargo, especially rice. It will be able to process shipments of 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes.
“Sihanoukville’s port can’t accommodate large vessels at the moment. The new facility will fix this.
“Having this new multipurpose terminal will lower the cost of logistics in the country.”
Lou Kim Chhun, PAS’s director general, was unable to confirm the launching date provided by Mr Phalla, but said construction of the new facility is scheduled to be finished by May.
“We will try to finish construction by May, but there may be delays,” Mr Kim Chhun said.
With a depth of 13 metres, the new terminal will be able to accommodate larger vessels and cruise ships, said Mr Kim Chhun.
“It will be specifically designed for the movement of retail cargo, agricultural products, coal and petrol at lower cost,” he said, adding that total investment into the new terminal is $60 million.
Khy Maly, sales and export manager at Amru Rice, said the new facility will boost efficiency and competitiveness in exports.
She said that under current conditions, larger vessels cannot enter PAS, which severely slows down export operations, prolonging them for weeks.
“Their vessels can only fit 1,000 TEUs. When we are shipping 2,000 TEUs, we need to wait until the next day,” she said.
A 20-foot container, also referred to as a TEU, is the industry standard reference for cargo volume and vessel capacity.
“With the new terminal, we will be able to load all our cargo at once, which will make our operations faster and more efficient,” Ms Maly said.
SAP saw a 15 percent hike in container movement last year. In the last five years, container traffic at the port increase by 12 percent.
In 2017, the port handled 460,000 TEUs. Port authorities plan to increase capacity to 1 million TEUs a year by 2023.
Construction of a new container terminal at PAS will start in early 2019, with Japan providing $209 million in low-interest loans for the project.
The new container terminal is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, according to Mr Kim Chhun.
“PAS will invest about $209 million to build a new 350-metre container terminal equipped with modern shipment facilities.”
With the existing container terminal expected to be overloaded by 2023, the expansion is intended to address a surge in the volume of containers passing through the country’s only deep-sea port.