On May 5th, 2022, the Cambodian government started the construction of a seaport in the Kampot province. The seaport project will be built on a total of 600 hectares. The government intends to implement it in three phases, with the first phase set to begin operations in 2025 with a capacity of 300,000 TEU.
Cambodia is funding the project with a $1.5 billion private-sector investment. The question is, how will this project benefit and impact regional trade? It will undoubtedly help the shipping industry and the country's reputation in international trade. Here are some of the benefits in detail:
Complement Port Operations in the Region
The first phase of the port will cost nearly $200 million and will have a water draft of 15 meters and a capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The multipurpose port will also complement Sihanoukville's seaport, which is one of the region's major ports.
According to reports, the port will boost the country's implementation of the master plan to develop Sihanoukville into a multipurpose special economic zone (SEZ) ) in addition to the existing ones in the country's four zones. Trade activities will surely boom and extend beyond Cambodia when transport infrastructure and a supply chain are readily available for goods production and distribution.
Promote Trade Interconnectivity
When the port is completed in 2030, it will have a capacity of 300,000–600,000 TEUs. Also, the port will promote further implementation of the country's master plan by connecting multipurpose transport and logistics systems that will cater to Cambodia's nearly $60 billion annual export-import trade.
According to the blueprint, this port will be connected by water, land, and rail to the capital city of Phnom Penh and other provinces via national roads and the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway. The port will connect to the country's north via the southern railway, providing more routes for trade and bolstering bilateral agreements with Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, all of which share direct borders with Cambodia.
Promote Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) And Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
The Cambodia-China FTA took effect in January 2022. A multipurpose port will help Cambodian agricultural exporters get their goods to the Asian country duty-free, boosting trade between the two countries.
The Cambodian government also has an FTA in effect with South Korea. This port will allow the latter to bring more cars, textiles, machinery, and marine and agricultural products to Cambodia, and Cambodia will be able to freely export its agricultural products and textile items. Cambodia is currently negotiating free trade deals with other countries within the region, and this new port will further collapse trade barriers.
Private investors are financing the Kampot seaport with over $1.5 billion, eventually opening Cambodia up to more international trade and generating greater foreign exchange earnings for the country. Cambodia shares borders with three of the eleven Southeast Asian countries, therefore making this Kampot seaport a worthwhile investment that can boost trade, generate more FDI, and increase economic growth in the region.
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