Cambodia currently has two principle routes to ship the nation’s production to the world. Cargo can reach the sea through Vietnam via the Port of Phnom Penh and the Mekong River, or via Sianookville Port on the Gulf of Thailand. A third major port is currently under construction adjacent to Sianookville at Stueng Hav. The remarkable entrepreneur Chunteav Oknah Lim Chhiv Ho, who owns the Attwoood Investment Group (AIG), leads this huge project. While she was born in the little town of Stueng Hav, she has built a small liquor import company into a diversified group of companies including beverages, real estate, property development and investment, restaurants and leisure.
AIG holds the concession rights to build, operate and own the international sea port as well as the associated Special Economic Zone at Stueng Hav. Located eight kilometres from the Sianookville seaport, the huge development, currently under construction, is slated to include 9,380 metres of berths capable of accommodating up to 50 vessels ranging from 50 to 258 metres in length. The port will include staff housing and other amenities on the 150-hectare fee trade zone and the 40 hectares of port land outside the free trade zone.
Port of Phnom Penh expands
Meanwhile expansion is also underway at the Port of Phnom Penh where container through put has been growing. Phnom Penh is about 332 kilometres from the South China Sea and 100 kilometres from the Vietnam/Cambodian border. The port is located on the Sap River about three kilometres from its confluence with the Mekong. Figures for the port vary, but by all reports it has shown dramatic increase in container shipments with over 50,000TEU handled in 2010. This is reportedly a 50 percent increase over the previous year due in part to the opening of the Cai Mep deepwater port in Vietnam, providing direct shipping to the US and Europe. Annual capacity of the existing port is reportedly about 80,000TEU.
Currently a major Chinese-funded expansion of area ports is underway. This US$28 million dollar terminal is planned to handle up to 120,000TEU per year when completed in 2012. It is located on the Mekong River in the Kean Svay district, about 30 kilometres east of Phnom Penh. China’s Shanghai Construction (Group) General Company is the primary contractor for the port project.
Fishing boat boom
Back on the coast at Stueng Hav and only a short distance from the new port project, there is something of a boom in fishing vessel construction. Building in wood to take advantage of Cambodia’s remaining forests, the yard completed numerous boats both in the 20-metre range and still more in the 12-metre range.
The smaller are primarily designed as shrimp trawlers. With prices for the smaller boats reportedly about US$150,000 there is clearly a significant investment being made in the fishing economy.
Cambodian shrimp processing, currently limited to a single plant operated by the Cambodian firm of Nautisco, is reliant on the wild catch as there are no significant shrimp farms in Cambodia as yet. It appears that much of the current shrimp catch is being exported to Thailand and Vietnam.
The Cambodian-owned, US-built CAM-dredge is working on the Mekong off Phnom Penh to raise the level of adjacent land above the flood plain. Working 24-hour days seven days per week, the dredge will move 11 million cubic metres of material onto 200 hectares of land. The 68- by 13-metre vessel moves a mix of sand and water for one kilometre to the destination site, at transfer rates up to 2000 cubic metres per hour.