Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said the Japanese government has pledged to provide $1.8 million in grant aid to develop a freight container station in Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone.
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Mr Hun Sen, now in a four-day visit to Tokyo to attend Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia, said the grant aid agreement will be signed tomorrow in the presence of the countries’ prime ministers.
In addition, Japan will provide 339 million yen ($3.1 million) to develop Cambodia’s human capital through scholarship programmes.
The new port facility will be designed for “less than container load” purposes, Lou Kim Chhun, director general of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, told Khmer Times yesterday. He explained that multiple companies will be able to use the same container, which will reduce costs.
A timeline for the project and details regarding the area it will occupy have not been disclosed. Mr Kim Chhun said JICA will soon conduct a feasibility study on the project, look for consultants to design it, and prepare the documentation needed to conduct the bidding process.
In August 2017, Cambodia and Japan signed more than $23 billion yen ($203 million) in official development assistance (ODA) loan agreements for a new container terminal at the port. Mr Hun Sen said the project will help Cambodia become a shipping hub in Asean.
The project, scheduled for completion in 2023, will increase the port’s container handling capacity to 900,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year, two times the current capacity, Mr Hun Sen said.
“The project will enable the port to accommodate larger vessels that have become mainstream in international marine transportation,” he said. “This will lead to a reduction in transportation costs.”
The Japanese government, through the agency JICA, has granted Cambodia $380 million in concessional loans from 1999 to 2019 for the development and renovation of the port.
Cargo traffic at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, the Kingdom’s only deep-sea port, saw 16 percent growth during the first quarter of the year.