Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday inaugurated a Chinese-built port in Kandal province, designed to move the rising amount of cargo traffic coming into Phnom Penh out of the city center.
Speaking at the new facility on the banks of the Mekong River in Kien Svay district, Mr. Hun Sen said the old port—which is located near the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge—would keep operating but that most cargo traffic would be moved downstream.
“China loaned the money to Cambodia without conditions. We need more loans from other countries,” he said of the 10-hectare port, which was built by the Shanghai Construction Group and paid for with $28.2 million from China.
“I take this opportunity to thank the Chinese government for this port,” Mr. Hun Sen said, adding that the funding was part of a $400 million loan package agreed to during a 2009 visit to Cambodia by the current leader of China’s ruling Communist Party, Xi Jinping.
“This loan was for eight projects, including the port project,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
The new port, situated about 30 km east of Phnom Penh on National Road 1, will deal with the increasing amount of cargo coming into Cambodia, he said.
“Now we have two ports near each other, and it will cut the transport distances for ships to exchange goods,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “It is national property. It will be used for national trade and business.”
He added that 75 percent of the traffic would pass through the new port, while the remainder would continue to go to Phnom Penh.
He also said that the number of containers moving through the existing Phnom Penh Autonomous Port had risen from about 47,500 in 2008 to more than 95,000 in 2012.
“We estimate that this new port has capacity to receive about 120,000 containers a year, and it will be expanded to handle 300,000 containers,” Mr. Hun Sen said.