Members of Asean and the broader international community met in Phnom Penh Tuesday and discussed ways to finish the Singapore-Kunming Project, a 5,382-km railway stretching from Singapore to China and missing two crucial links—both in Cambodia.
At the 26th Asean Railway General Manager’s Conference on Tuesday, Sokhom Pheakavamony, director general of the Royal Railway of Cambodia, said the agency is seeking $15 million from foreign donors to lay 48 km of track from Sisophon to Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province.
The link, which would connect Cambodia’s rail system—and economy—to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, is an RRC priority, Sokhom Pheakavamony said.
“The missing link is a very important part of the Asean railway project,” he said. “It has economic potential.”
A longer-term plan calls for another $500 million in funds for 305 km of track connecting Phnom Penh to Vietnam’s Loc Minh province. That link would allow goods and travelers to flow from Cambodia, through Vietnam and into the Chinese province of Kunming.
“If we could complete these projects, you guys can travel by train to the rest of the Asean countries,” Sokhom Pheakavamony told a group of reporters.
He added that Malaysia has already donated 106 km of track for the Sisophon-Poipet link and was negotiating over the additional $15 million in funds with the Ministry of Public Works.
Opened in 1929, the Cambodian Railway consists of two lines, Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh to Battambang. Despite needing more than $100 million in renovations, the 75-year-old trains and tracks continue to shuttle goods to and from the capital.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol told members of the conference on Tuesday that the development of rail transportation is one of the ministry’s key goals.
In his pitch for funding, the minister told attendees that an efficient Cambodian transportation network would support economic growth, poverty alleviation and regional growth and integration.