The Funan Techo Canal: Treading New Waters, Stirring Old Ripples

Cambodia’s Funan Techo Canal is an embodiment of the country’s renaissance and grievances of its past.

The Funan Techo Canal project has emerged as a new controversy in the love-hate relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam, with China lurking in the background as the former’s patron.

The ambitious project, to be funded and built by the state-owned China Bridge and Road Corporation, will connect the Mekong River with the coastal province of Kep through a 180-km channel. It is envisioned to enhance Cambodia’s waterway connectivity by forging a direct route from Phnom Penh to the Cambodian coast, thereby reducing its current reliance on Vietnamese ports for international shipping. Projections suggest that the canal could potentially slash Cambodia’s shipping through Vietnam by 70 per cent and generate US$88 million in annual transportation earnings. This could reach US$570 million by 2050. It is also anticipated to inject economic vitality into economic zones along the canal’s path.

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