End of the Bassac River-Kep Sea Waterway link study

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Cambodia and China are studying the logistics of creating a connection between the Bassac River and the sea in the province of Kep in order to provide a viable alternative to the river passenger and freight traffic to enter the Kingdom without going through the Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The Bassac River is an outlet of Tonlé Sap Lake and the Mekong which begins in the capital and flows south to Loeuk Dek district of Kandal province, crossing the border with Vietnam. The Kingdom is largely dependent on the Ka’am Samnor gate for inbound international transport by waterways.

Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol met on April 22 with a delegation from China Road and Bridge Corp, “representing CCCC Transportation Consultants Co Ltd”, via video link to discuss a recently completed feasibility study on the Bassac River navigation and logistics system. project, the ministry said in a statement later in the day.

The minister said the project would improve Cambodia’s waterway network and ensure smooth traffic, benefit the national economy and provide a more viable alternative to land transport.

“The shipping lanes and logistics system on the Bassac River will bring positive changes to Cambodia’s river transport.

“Cambodia has a rich network of waterways consisting of rivers such as the Mekong, Tonlé Sap, Bassac, Sekong, Sesan and Srepok. However, Cambodia has yet to fully exploit the enormous potential of all these natural resources,” he said in the statement.

The statement did not provide a concrete timetable for the work, projected cost estimates or the length of the waterway connection.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) President Sin Chanthy hailed the new project, saying it has the support of “many” players in the transport and logistics industry.

He argued that waterways offer the most efficient and effective mode of transport, and in particular offer more reasonable prices as well as safer and less congested travel that consumes less energy than land-based options, at namely railways and roads.

“In Cambodia, the use of waterways and railways is still limited, with the majority of transport encompassing road traffic with many trucks. Waterway transport is the best because Cambodia has the potential, with an extensive network of waterways largely adjacent to agro-industrial and industrial areas,” Chanthy said.

According to the CLA President, more than 70% of Cambodia’s imports and exports pass through the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, while land routes represent 20% and air routes nearly 10%.

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