Source: Khmer Times
A Japanese expert has urged Cambodia to invest in improving transport on the Mekong River to boost the movement of cargo around the country.
Kume Hidetoshi from the Japanese International Cooperation Center made the call during a presentation at the Japanese embassy yesterday.
Mr. Hidetoshi also advised the government to improve railway access to Sihanoukville Port and introduce Electronic Data Interchange systems there, to speed up clearance procedures for cargo vessels.
He said cargo transport on Cambodia’s waterways was slow, citing the fact it takes about five hours to drive to the Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh, but more than 40 hours by boat. The capacity for use of inland waterways is also limited, he added.
Mr. Hidetoshi said the Japan International Cooperation Agency conducted a trial night voyage from Phnom Penh to Cai Mep Port in Vietnam in January 2015. He recommended night border crossings be introduced, to cope with growing cargo shipments and increase the capacity of ports and waterways.
The transport expert said local railways are still too slow for logistics operators. It takes 11 hours from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville Port by rail, but five hours by road. His group also conducted a trial rail journey from a factory in the capital to the port last year.
He said an inland railway port should be developed, as well as new measures to boost the safety and capacity of local trains.
Chan Dara, the director-general of waterway transport and ports, welcomed Mr. Hidetoshi’s recommendations, acknowledging night crossings from Phnom Penh to Cai Mep Port are not now possible.
He added that waterways facilitate 90 percent of cargo transportation in Cambodia, with nearly 2,000 vessels traveling through Cambodian ports each year.