Fearing safety problems during the rainy season for passengers using mud-carved paths and steps to board their Mekong river pleasure boats, representatives of the newly-formed Phnom Penh Tourist Water Transport Association met with port officials to discuss plans for a safer dock and better parking for the vessels last week.
“Our boat parking is like a mouth and teeth,” Nath Tha, 46, operator of a medium-sized boat and a member of the association, which formed Jan 17, said yesterday.
“If we don’t have a place for parking, we will not be able to operate our boats easily,” she added.
All boat operators supported the plan to find more docking space, said boat-owner Nos Ibrahim, 65. “[The development] will assist tourists getting on to the boats more smoothly,” he said adding that the construction of any new docking space was expected to take three years.
Hei Bavy, general director of Phnom Penh Autonomous Port refused to name the area where the new docks would be situated, adding that the development was in the early stages and required further discussion with the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation.
“We don’t have a real decision on it yet,” he said. “The plans give boat owners the opportunity to get their guests on board safely,” he said.
Port officials and association members are still discussing parking prices at the new docking area, Mr Ibrahim said, with officials putting sample monthly rates forward for operators to consider.
“The price ranges from $10 for a small boat to $20 for a big boat,” Mr Ibrahim said, adding that it was only a discussion and the port had not demanded money from owners.