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River transport project revealed

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A boat carries passengers along the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Public Works and Transports has revealed plans to build a network of inland ports along the Mekong River with the aim of facilitating the movement of passengers and agricultural goods.

During a recent meeting with a delegation of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica), Minister of Public Works Sun Chanthol requested the agency to conduct a feasibility study on the project.

“Waterway transportation is important because is cheaper,” said Mr Chanthol.

“We are trying to build inland ports to transport agricultural goods outside the country. We are working to see how to improve water-based transport,” Mr Chanthol said.

The government is working on other projects to improve river transportation. For example, a water taxi system in the Mekong River linking Prek Pnov, the northern part of Phnom Penh, to Takhmao city in Kandal province is expected to start in April.

“Waterway transportation has been improved for tourists, but we still face a lack of ports in coastal provinces and along the Mekong River,” Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said yesterday during his ministry’s annual conference.

“We have failed to significantly increase the number of tourists travelling the Mekong, despite the fact that the economic potential for this type of transportation is really high.”

Thoun Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), welcomed the new project, but asked the government not to forget about land-based modes of transport.

“It is true that there is great potential in river transportation, but there is also a great need to improve land transportation between the different provinces,” he said.

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