The construction of a new container terminal as part of an expansion project of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) will start by early 2019 after Japan signed an agreement to provide a low-interest loan of about $209 million.
The new container terminal is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, a senior PAS official said. Lou Kim Chhun, the director general of the PAS, told Khmer Times yesterday that the feasibility study from the Japan International Cooperation Agency was positive and now Japan has granted the loan.
Kim Chhun said the construction of the new container terminal will start by the end of 2018 or early in 2019 at the latest, and is scheduled to be finished by 2022 or early 2023. “It will take three to four months to seek and select a consultant and it will take another three to four months for the consultant to detail the construction plans and then the bidding process will take another three to four months,” he said. “These processes will take a year to finalise.”
Kim Chunn said that in 2018, the port and development partner will study the detailed design of the new container terminal. He added that the volume of containers passing through the port will increase to more than one million TEUs in 2023.
Its current capacity is now more than 450,000 TEUs. A 20-foot container, also referred to as a TEU, is the industry standard reference for cargo volume and vessel capacity. “PAS will invest about $209 million to build a new 350-metre container terminal equipped with modern shipment facilities,” added Kim Chhun.
The expansion is intended to address a surge in the volume of containers passing through the country’s only deep-sea port. The existing container terminal is expected to be overloaded by 2023.
Hun Lak, the vice-president of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), said the new container terminal will help lower the cost of ocean trade as big ships from Cambodia to the EU have to transit in some countries. He said the new port will bring the logistics down for exports and imports and added that the rice sector will gain advantages from this.
“The plan to build the new container terminal by the end of 2018 or 2019 is a bit late, but it would be better than nothing. The good point is that the transport is a bit better while the electricity cost is also low,” said Hun Lak.
According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, between 2002 and 2005, the state-owned enterprise spent $33.7 million on building a 240-metre container port. From 2005 to 2009, PAS also spent $34.8 million on expanding that port to 400 metres.
In 2015, PAS launched a $74.2 million project to build a multipurpose seaport measuring 330 metres wide and 13.5 metres deep. It is about 65 percent finished and should be completed by next year. In the first half of this year, the total income for PAS was $25.4 million, up 2.04 percent from the same period last year.