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Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

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The soon-to-be-opened Prey Vor-Binh Hiep international border checkpoint will help relieve traffic congestion in Bavet town. Transport Ministry

Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday.

This is part of the Kingdom’s ambitions to transform into a logistics hub for the ASEAN region, he said.

Chantol was speaking during a visit to the soon-to-be-opened Prey Vor-Binh Hiep international border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province’s southern Prey Vor village.

With a name that means “vine forest”, Prey Vor is in Kampong Ro district’s Thmey commune and is a 50km drive southwest of Bavet town. Bavet is the province’s number two urban centre and home to its main border gate, which is often heavily congested with container lorries.

Chanthol said the government is actively working to upgrade the road infrastructure system nationwide and gradually open new border gates.

Road infrastructure and freight transport access will prove instrumental in promoting national economic growth once they have reached more convenient levels, he said.

The mission to transform Cambodia’s image on the international stage and shore up national income has engendered a steady stream of new infrastructure projects despite Covid-19’s sweeping disruptions of the global economy, he said.

“Although Covid-19 continues to spread, the government has not suspended or cancelled any new infrastructure projects. It has been able to continue building road infrastructure, which is a main factor in promoting national economic growth and progress,” Chantol said.

The ministry on Wednesday signed a technical cooperation deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for Phase II of the “Project for Improvement of the Logistics System of Cambodia”.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Chantol stressed that modern transport infrastructure and upgraded international border checkpoints would be a driving force behind the logistics sector, putting it on par with regional countries.

Provincial governor Men Vibol stressed that opening additional border gates would increase the Kingdom’s investment attractiveness.

He said: “With the opening of the Prey Vor International Border Gate, I expect [the province] to be able to absorb growth as more investors pass through here.

“This will lead to the creation of more new special economic zones in the future.”

Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy said that given its favourable geographical location, the Kingdom can ill afford to miss out on the opportunity to become a regional logistics hub.

But he stressed that the government’s logistics push was in its early stages. “The long-term plan is to make Cambodia a hotspot for logistics hubs for the ASEAN region and woo more investors into setting up factories and businesses here,” he said.

Freight forwarding activity in 2025 will hit double 2016-levels, he said, citing predictions published by Jica in April 2018.

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