Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodia is planning to build a new container seaport in Preah Sihanouk province with financial assistance from Japan, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said last week.

A 14.5m-deep port, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will soon be built in the southern province, he told a press conference.

The container port will service about 93 percent of all large vessels travelling in the Asia-Pacific region, the Cambodian minister said, adding that cargo from Cambodia will be able to be shipped directly without having to stop at Singapore or Hong Kong (China).

Chheang Pich, Director of the General Directorate of Logistics under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told the Phnom Penh Post that the project is now underway after JICA recently completed the study.

The port will facilitate import and export activities in the region and reduce costs, he said.

In a previous interview, Director-General of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) Lou Kim Chhun said the new port will cost around 203 million USD.

According to President of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association Sin Chanthy, the future port will expand the container handling capacity in the province.

It is good news for the shipping sector, he said, the new port will reduce traffic congestion at PAS and will help increase revenue for the government.

Chanthol said there is another port project in the pipeline. Although the study for this third port in the province has not been finalised, the minister was able to confirm that it will be 17m deep.

This port will allow Cambodia to conduct direct shipments to the US, he said.

A report by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said PAS’ revenue reached 80 million USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 17.5 percent.

Total tonnage handled by the port increased by 22.6 percent, reaching more than 6.5 million tonnes, while the total number of vessels passing through rose by 15.5 percent to 1,661./.