Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the groundbreaking ceremony to construct the first-phase new containers terminal, and the inauguration of the mobile container lifters at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP) [Unofficial translations]

CMF:

(1) Construction of new deep-water container port and commissioning of machinery to expand capacity and modernize ports in response to the growth of Cambodia’s international trade volume

Today, it is an honor for me to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the first phase of the deep-water container terminal and the inauguration ceremony of two mobile containers lifters at the edge of the port. Every May 1, which is an International Labor Day every year, Samdech Techo never missed a meeting with the employees/workers here […] to encourage and confirm the Royal Government’s attention to the development of the strategic port of Sihanoukville. Today we have two programs together. First, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new deep-water container terminal and second is the inauguration of the mobile container lifters, all of which will complement the functions of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port to expand capacity and modernize the port in response to growth of Cambodia’s international trade volume, which reflects the increase in the number of containers passing through now and in the future […]

(2) Japan provides $243 million loan for three years to build first-stage deep-sea container terminal

On this occasion, I would thank the Government of Japan as well as the people of Japan for providing two forklifts worth nearly US$ 14 million through grants as well as about US$ 243 million loans to build the first phase of the deep-water container terminal, which we opened today. The construction project will take 36 months or 3 years, which we plan to complete in 2026. That means this place will be even busier. I just met an older brother who has been working for 40 years, since he was about 10 years old, when he was single, and now he is a grandpa. Big brother, you can clearly see the progress here […]

(3) Transform the port into a logistics hub with potential for regional and international trade

Our deep-sea port was built before the war and played a very important role in trade. It was a port where most of the goods traded through exports and imports in the 1970s […] now again here it is becoming a potential port not only within the framework of the country but with regional dynamics. The previous Royal Government of Samdech Techo, the former Prime Minister, has set the direction to build this port for many terms already. We have reached a new stage now. In the future, we will do more work to turn this port not only into a container port, but also a regional logistics hub, a vision and an effort to give this place the potential to serve the region’s trade and commerce. Connecting Cambodia with the regional and international trade lines is the lifeblood of Cambodia’s economy […]

(4) Cambodia-Japan diplomatic relations are 70 years old, but the people-to-people relations are over 400 years old

This year is a special year of Cambodia-Japan relations, it is now 70 years counting from 1953. I met and told His Excellency ISHIBASHI Rintaro, Deputy Minister (of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan) that although diplomacy began in 1953, the relationship between the people of Cambodia and Japan historically began almost 400 years ago […] during the Edo generation of Japan, between the 17th to the 19th century, there had a Japanese village in the capital Udong (of the Kingdom of Cambodia). There have been some records. That means people-to-people relations between Cambodia and Japan have a history here. In the past, most communication was by water. Probably related to businesses […]

(5) Raising the level of Cambodia-Japan relations to “comprehensive strategic partnership”

In Tokyo on December 18, with the Prime Minister of Japan Kishida, while attending the ASEAN-Japan 50th Anniversary Summit, we discussed the strengthening of friendly relations in this year. we have two special features. First, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomacy, and second, we have elevated Cambodia-Japan diplomatic relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest level in the history of Cambodia-Japan relations. This is a feature of 2023. We discussed what we need to do to strengthen and expand all-round connectivity, people-to-people connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, digital connectivity, trade connectivity, security connectivity and enhanced relations of all kinds, especially the connection of new initiatives and strengthening of our economic ties. This is an important pillar […]

(6) One of the five pillars of Cambodia-Japan relations is to make Sihanoukville Port play a central role in the region and connect to digital infrastructure

Last year, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo and (the Prime Minister of Japan) HE Kishida, as just mentioned by the Deputy Minister) agreed to strengthening relations based on the five pillars, one of which is the strengthening of infrastructure as the first priority. The first pillar focuses on the port of Sihanoukville as the core port in the region. Japan has played an important role not only in this port but also in helping to build interconnected infrastructure. In the past, Japan has helped in the development of National Road 5, 6, 7 and 1 […] the Kizuna Bridge, the Chroy Changvar Bridge, the Tsubasa Bridge, which is the longest bridge of more than two kilometers, and organized an interconnected infrastructure of Cambodia […]

We now continue to connect digital infrastructure, which is fast. Airways used to be about airplanes, but now we talk about another space traveling – cyber space is faster than airplane. This means is very fast […] and with this connectivity we will be able to accelerate and connect economy and economy, people and people […] I am taking this opportunity to thank HE Kishida for supporting the important initiatives we have discussed together to strengthen economic ties, in general, and  in relation to this infrastructure development, in particular, which is in line with the key priorities of the Royal Government’s first phase pentagonal strategy – people, roads, water, electricity and digital. This road refers to infrastructure that includes land, water and air/space, and we are talking about cyber space […]

(7) Water transports/trade routes is still important because it is more transportable, cheaper and connecting the port and the mainland

To this day, or for centuries, water transport/trade route still plays an important role. In the past, the waterway trade routes were exclusive because we did not have a plane. Some are geographically connected by land from here to Europe by boat, and/or by ship […] the traffic on the waterway is still high due to three features. Firstly, we see that about 90% of the traffic of the world’s commercial goods are made through ships because aircraft cannot carry 60,000 tons cargos […]; secondly, air transport is expensive […], and thirdly, it is easy to connect from port to port and to the ground […] although we aim to build infrastructure, roads and airways, and are going to build more highways and modernize them, we improve railways, we build more airports, but we set out directives to develop our port an important element in the first phase pentagonal strategy that cannot be discarded […]

(8) Increase the economic potential of the provinces along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers by connecting with the coastal provinces

I have entrusted Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol with the task of conducting a master plan study on the coordination and strategic planning for our port, especially Sihanoukville, along with other seaports that we have to strategically design and complete the interface with each other. However, the port in Sihanoukville is a leading port in trade with the region and in the world. Therefore, we aim to prepare to build and strengthen this port into a logistics hub not only to serve the national level, but the region itself […] I also entrust (the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance) HE Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth to study and develop new strategies, re-evaluate the freshwater transport system […] and rethink and evaluate how to move forward. We have walked this far and how do we plan to connect the transport between freshwater and salt water ports through our future canal (Funan Techo) […] and to set up a logistics system to connect the land and waterways. We pay attention therefore to both port along the salt water areas and along the fresh water areas, especially to increase the economic potential in the provinces along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, by connection with the provinces by the sea […]

(9) The state prepares the master port plan and coordinates both the strategy and the quantity

We have to develop a master plan to facilitate and open up to the private sector to participate. The government is the mediator. The word “mediator” does not mean “walk behind”, the mediator must walk in front. The one with the plan walk ahead. A master plan is not for individual needs. The plan and action may not be getting along. We plan ahead and let the private sector participate in our master plan. That would be more effective. One theory in the army is “slow but smooth, smooth but fast.” In short, slow but fast. What does that mean? If we all are in a hurry, we may not make it anywhere for walking into each other. (I mean talking about) port development, for example, freshwater ports, maybe everywhere jumps to the need of development. That would complicate things. Look at the strategy, including the quantity […] how many we are working on and allowing to grow according to market demands. The market for ports is the inflow and outflow of port or its usage […]

(10) Port development according to PPP formula and loans

The Royal Government, in its role as the master plan coordinator, has a role to play. The planning calls for the participation of the private sector and adopts the PPP (public-private sector partnership) formula for public-private partnership for development port sector. The private sector understands business better than we do, and let them involved in planning and implementation. The PPP formula has two benefits. Firstly, the state does not spend a lot of money. If you build a port for hundreds of billions, the public sector will have to borrow money. How could we get a loan from the national budget? We lend money to the private sector to get them involved. Secondly, the private sector has and develops its skills as an element in the development of efficiency and governance. The state plays a role at the state level, provides principles for governing laws and regulations, backed by the private sector, and secondly, attracting credit is an important task. I would like to thank Japan as well as many partnering countries for providing credits for this development, as an element to help meet the needs of the nation […]

(13) Promote the organization of goods storing/transfer or Transshipment in 2024

In addition, I gave the principle of organizing a transshipment location – (a point of interchange between several long-distance shipping routes). HE Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth, with the relevant institutions in the field of customs and with the port, and HE Sun Chanthol, may accelerate the negotiation of technical tips with the customs and some institutions to start (working as a transshipment hub in) 2024. Transshipment hub – in Khmer, it is understood to be a place where goods can be stored for period of time before they can be transferred between shipping routes. For example, they transport goods to Laem ChaBang port or to other port, but it is stuck on the ship that docked in our port, and it’s only 3 to 4 containers. If they let the ship continue to Laem Chabang, it would be expensive. We let them keep it with us until the next shipment comes making the number of containers to 20 or 30, then they can ship them together […] we locate in the middle between Laem Chabang and Da Nang ports. We are at the center of the strategic route between the busy ports of Thailand and the port of Vietnam […] please negotiate how to prepare (for this) before the end of this December to implement the transshipment purpose here […]

(14) Port is the pulse to connecting domestic and foreign trade to boost economic activity and transportation

A working port is a place to connect the pulse of domestic and foreign trade. It will stimulate economic activity in other provinces and other transportation in all sectors will also grow. What we want is to help the national economy and jobs. Everywhere has grown thanks to the development of strategic ports, including Sihanoukville. A working port is when it is cheaper to transport. With low-cost transportation, investors will come in looking for investment in agriculture and other industries. This is good. Soon we connect rivers and sea, and we make river transport more efficient and cheaper […] this morning I had a look at a title “the secret of the Funan Canal.” I do not read what write inside but why is it a secret? There is no secret to tell. There is nothing to hide. The construction of this canal is for the connection of the river and the sea, together with the development of the port of Sihanoukville in order to expand Cambodia’s economic potential, help the economy grow and make the Cambodian people more prosperous, […]

(15) By 2029, Sihanoukville Port will welcome cargo ships of all sizes.

Going through phase-ii and phase-iii, by 2029, we will reach the stage when we have the container berth deepened to 17.5 meters. Then, we can accommodate ships with a capacity of up to 160,000 tons. Large ships from the United States and from Europe are welcome to offload and upload in Cambodia […] by 2029, our port/container berth will be able to welcome all kinds of ships from every country to bring goods to/from Cambodia […] may HE the Deputy Minister (of Japan) as well as HE the Ambassador of Japan encourage and promote the relevant institutions of Japan, especially JICA here, in talks with HE Sun Chanthol, assigned to represent the Cambodian side as the team leader, regarding the master plan to turn this place into a logistics hub or access point for the area […] we now have about 70 hectares, and about 40 hectares are still vacant land and usable to expand logistics hub. Examine the possibilities to connect in what form. If it is necessary, let us expand the special economic zone associated with this port in geographical term. If there is a place that we can connect, it is good. If not, let us connect the administration. This means that no matter where you are, a few kilometers from each other but the two administrations can work with each other or together […]./.

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