After more than three years of construction work to increase its cargo handling capacity, the conclusion of the expansion of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port was marked yesterday with a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The expansion of the port, which began in early 2015, has come at a cost of $74 million, which was financed with a soft loan from the Japanese Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Work focused on building a new container terminal and expanding cargo handling capacity to 450,000 TEUs.
The 20-foot container, referred to as a twenty-foot equivalent unit or TEU, is the industry standard reference for cargo volume and vessel capacity.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked the Japanese government for their role in helping expand the port’s handling capacity from 10,000 to 50,000 tonnes by increasing its depth to 14 metres.
“A capacity of 50,000 tonnes is not bad, but we are not fully satisfied yet, and will continue to work towards reaching 14.5 metres in depth, which will allow us to harbour ships carrying up to 60,000 tonnes,” the premier said.
He added that the $74 million used to renovate the port are part of a $203-milliion loan approved by the Japanese government during his visit to Japan in August last year.
Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation, who also attended the ceremony, said the port will play a key role in reducing the cost of transportation in the country.
“The port is now better equipped to play an increasing role in the transportation of goods and will increase the country’s competitiveness in the region by reducing logistics costs,” he said, adding that the port now has the capacity to handle around 70 percent of all imports and exports in the country.
The minister said the port is connected to national roads 2, 3 and 4, as well as the railroad system and an upcoming highway linking the capital to Sihanoukville.