The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is currently investigating the feasibility of implementing waterway transportation from the Bassac River in Phnom Penh to Kampot seaport.
On January 26, during a meeting with Dominic Williams, UK Ambassador to Cambodia, Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport, said that the Ministry is currently studying the project of waterway transportation from Bassac River to Kampot seaport to facilitate road transport, make it faster, and reduce costs.
He said if the project is successful, it will be a historical project that will transform Cambodia in the field of water transportation as a whole.
Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at Royal Academy of Cambodia, believes the project will bring abundant benefits to Cambodia’s economy if it booms as planned by the government.
It will become a strategic advantage, which means it will help Cambodia in the long-term in the transportation sector from Phnom Penh to Kampot, he added.
“As we all know, waterway transportation has several advantages, including the number of items transported, [reducing] the impact on the environment, and [reducing] the impact on public roads,” he said. “So, all we need is a ferry or a boat as transportation, and we can transfer items quickly and in large quantities.”
Furthermore, it will boost the tourism industry as some tourists prefer to go by water, he said.
"So, we may prepare tour packages for tourists and travel from Phnom Penh to Kampot by taking the boat or ferry,” he said. “So tourists may enjoy the scenery from Phnom Penh to Kampot."
He added it will also assist farmers who grow along the newly-dug river as they will have water for cultivating and will be able to carry goods more conveniently along the waterway.
"The waterway will also benefit the agriculture sector in several main regions where the river flows,” he said.
When comparing the cost of a waterway to a highway or airline, the waterway is less expensive and requires less maintenance, he added.
“So, if we consider the long-term, we spend a lot of money on road maintenance,” he said.
Cambodia has just approved French investment for a new high-speed railway between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, after the unveiling of plans for the nation's first high-speed train connecting Phnom Penh and Poipet.