The government is set to begin deepening of the Kampot International Tourism Port’s waterway and additional improvements “soon” to enable safer access for larger vessels, after the main construction work on the 4.25ha site was completed on June 30, according to Kampot provincial deputy governor Ung Chhay.

The port is located in Chum Kriel village, Chum Kriel commune, Teuk Chhou district about 6km southeast of Kampot town, along the Dang Prek estuary of the Kampot river which flows into Kampot bay.

Chhay attended an October 7 inspection of the project site, led by Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol, along with Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, the public works ministry confirmed in a statement.

Pornmoniroth recommended the relevant working group enlist private companies to complete the remaining work, and called on the team to address any other lingering issues to ensure that the Kampot International Tourism Port can operate safely and efficiently after its official inauguration.

Chhay told The Post on October 9 that, at present, larger leisure vessels cannot be allowed to enter the rather shallow waters leading to the port’s quay.

However, the working group has been given the green light by the government to conduct a detailed study on the requisite deepening of the channel and associated works, he affirmed.

Although unable to provide a specific timeframe, he voiced hope that the project would begin soon, reflecting on the tourism and economic value that the port could bring for Kampot province and elsewhere in the Kingdom.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy remarked that the private sector has been lobbying for an international port primarily tailored towards tourism – as opposed to freight – since at least 2008, amid a continuous uptrend in the shipping industry, prior to Covid-19.

He argued that tourism-oriented ports generate considerable revenues for locals as well as state coffers and provide a host of other economic benefits, while often making certain tasks easier for the authorities than their multi-purpose counterparts, including managing tourist flows and communicating information.

The public works ministry regards the port as an international gateway into Cambodia for national and international travellers arriving from not only regional countries, but also further destinations, according to the statement.

The Kampot International Tourism Port broke ground on August 8, 2018 and was built at a cost of $9.27 million, co-financed by the Asian Development Bank and the government, the statement added. The site is located at GPS coordinates 10.569N, 104.221E.