The Japanese government has agreed to loan Cambodia $200 million to develop a new seaport in Preah Sihanouk province in anticipation of increased shipping traffic on the coast, according to Cambodian Transport Minister Sun Chanthol.
Keiichi Ishii, the Japanese infrastructure and transport minister, approved the loan request during a meeting in Phnom Penh on Friday, Mr. Chanthol said.
“In 2022, our port might be jammed because the number of goods has rapidly increased,” Mr. Chanthol said after the meeting. “Therefore, we need to build another deep-sea port.”
Mr. Chanthol said the new port would be 14.5 meters deep, but did not expand on details of the construction. The two parties also agreed to create an electronic database to track the seaports’ imports and exports, which would eventually replace the current paper system, Mr. Chanthol added.
“The document is currently handwritten. It takes so much time,” he said.
Neither ministry spokesmen nor officials at the current Sihanoukville port could be reached for comment. The Japanese Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to Japanese news service Kyodo, the port will be built as a 350-meter extension to the existing 400-meter-long port in deeper water to accommodate larger vessels. Construction will be undertaken by a Japanese company, which Kyodo did not name, beginning next year and concluding by 2023, it said.
In addition to the seaport loan, Mr. Chanthol said Japan had agreed to a request to have Japanese logistics experts create a master plan to cut Cambodia’s high transportation costs.
Japan has frequently contributed to Cambodia’s transportation and infrastructure projects in the past, including carrying out a traffic congestion assessment and developing a public bus system in Phnom Penh. In February, Japan’s development agency proposed building a driverless skyline train in the capital.
(Additional reporting by Janelle Retka)