In-depth Study into $1.7b Shipping Canal Given Green Light

A more in-depth study into building the $1.7 billion shipping canal, Funan Techo Canal Project, has been given the green light
Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS). Kiripost via PAS Facebook page
Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS). Kiripost via PAS Facebook page

The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a more in-depth study on the $1.7 billion “Funan Techo Canal Project,” a new shipping lane connecting the Mekong River to the sea in Kep province.

Phay Siphan, government spokesman, posted on his Facebook on Friday that the Council of Ministers during the weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen had approved a more in depth study of the project.

“The Plenary Meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, recommended the continuation of study of environment impact by sea water and inform the Joint Committee of the Mekong River Commission in accordance with the 1995 Mekong Agreement on the Bassac River Navigation and Logistics Project,” Siphan posted.

Siphan also posted an inter ministerial report of the project, the waterway is about 180 km long, starting from the Takeo canal of the Mekong River, passing through the Ta Ek canal of the Bassac River, then entering the Ta Hing canal of the Bassac River, Koh Thom district, and continuing to the sea in Kep province, passing through four provinces, Kandal, Takeo, Kampot and Kep provinces.

The report added that 1.6 million people live along the waterway. The report said that “inland waterway transport is an important sector and has great potential for boosting the national economy by reducing the cost of transporting goods and tourism, lowering emissions and improving connectivity and easy to connect with other means of transportation in Cambodia.”

This project is the first historic project in Cambodia's water transport sector to connect the Mekong River system and the sea route, the report said, adding that the feasibility study for the project is divided into two phases with a total duration of 26 months, including: Phase 1, preliminary study for 14 months and Phase 2 for feasibility study of 12 months.

The report said that the estimated cost is about $1.7 billion and will take about four years to build.

The project will reduce the current time and distance of transit through a Vietnamese port of about 69 km from Phnom Penh Autonomous Port to Sihanoukville Port and about 135 km from Phnom Penh Autonomous Port to a port in Kampot province, the report said.

The project will save about $170 million on shipping costs for 20-ft containers (1TEUs) and about $223 million on 40-ft (2TEUs) containers, the report said.