The chairman and CEO of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, HE Lou Kim Chhun, has received a 2020 Spring Conferment of Decorations from the Japanese government for his contributions in promoting the relationship between Japan and Cambodia in the field of port development.
Kim Chhun spoke of his achievements and experiences developing Sihanoukville Port – the Kingdom’s sole international deep-sea dock – with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to boost Cambodia’s economic and industrial activities.
“With profound emotions, it is my great honour and pleasure that my achievements – particularly the further strengthening of the friendship and cooperation between Japan and Cambodia in terms of the development of Sihanoukville Port – have been valued so highly and recognised as outstanding.
“This also highlights the remarkable accomplishments and significant contributions made in the progress of Japanese civil engineering and the promotion of exchange and cooperation between Japan and Cambodia.
“I am sure that the close relationship and strong cooperation between Japan and Cambodia will contribute further to poverty reduction and the Kingdom’s development,” he said.
Kim Chhun went on to outline his positive experiences and the remarkable achievements made over the past 20 years from Jica projects and the assistance of Japanese experts in the development of Sihanoukville Port.
Of the many Jica projects, the agency provided technical cooperation on the “The Study on Master Plan and Feasibility Study of Sihanoukville Port” project from 1996-97.
“This study was of significant importance as it established the long-term plans for the development of Sihanoukville Port,” Kim Chhun recounted.
The Sihanoukville Port Urgent Rehabilitation Project was launched in 2002 and continued until 2005, with a total cost of 4,142,000,000 yen for the development and construction of a 240m container berth and 8.5ha container yard, as well as the dredging of the channel and basin of the port to a depth of up to 11.5m.
“This was the initial step for the integration of Sihanoukville Port into the marine transportation sector – it particularly marked the era of transportation reform from general cargo to containerised cargo according to modern transportation trends,” he said.
The Sihanoukville Port Urgent Expansion Project (2005-9) was implemented at a total cost of 4,313,000,000 yen. A 160m container berth and one-stop-service administration building were constructed.
Two quay gantry cranes, five rubber-tyred gantry cranes and eight articulated lorries were provided, as well as a management system.
“This marked a historic milestone as it was the first time that a deep-sea container port could begin operations in Cambodia,” Kim Chhun said.
In 2007, Jica provided a loan for the Sihanoukville Port SEZ Development Project-E/S with a total cost of 318,000,000 yen for the feasibility study and design. A loan of 3,651,000,000 yen for the Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Development Project was then provided in 2009 for the construction of the important facilities.
Together with this, the Sihanoukville Port Multipurpose Terminal Development Project (2015-2018) received a Japanese ODA Loan of 7,176,000,000 yen.
A 330m long multi-purpose terminal berth with a depth of 13.5m for bulk and general cargo was constructed, while a 200m long terminal berth was also built.
“As well as providing logistics services for offshore oil exploration in Cambodian seas, this expedited the export of Cambodian agricultural products – such as acacia, wood chips, dry tapioca chips and milled rice – for the Kingdom’s economic growth,” Kim Chhun said.
Jica also provided the loan for the Sihanoukville Port New Container Terminal Development Project Phase 1 (2017-2024), which is set to cost 23,502,000,000 yen.
The New Container Terminal Phase 1 – 350m long with a depth of 14.5m – is expected to be constructed in the middle of 2021 and be operational mid-2024.
It will accommodate container ships with a capacity of 60,000DWT (deadweight tonnage), allowing 93 per cent of intra-Asia container ships to dock, resulting in a movement of freight comparable to that of neighbouring ports. This will improve marine transportation in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, Kim Chhun said.
While Jica has played a major role in the development of Sihanoukville Port, Kim Chhun also hailed the assistance of Japanese experts.
The Ports and Harbours Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has since 2005 sent seven engineers as Jica advisers to Sihanoukville Port to support its operations and administration. Additionally, a number of Japanese engineers and other personnel have been dispatched as experts on several projects granted through the Technical Cooperation Programme.
“Working with Japanese experts and advisers, we have acquired further technical skills and experience. In all matters related to port operations and management, whether regional or international, we are able to liaise with Japanese experts and advisers on a timely basis and with friendship and honesty.
“Sihanoukville Port, in close collaboration with Japanese consultants and contractors, has successfully made solid achievements in improving its facilities and infrastructure. We have acquired greater knowledge on technical aspects and working practices from Japanese experts including project consultants and contractors.
“Training in Japan has enhanced and improved the knowledge and experience of the staff at Sihanoukville Port, with our personnel constantly striving for better and more reliable services, and higher productivity for Sihanoukville Port today, as well being fully prepared for all future developments tomorrow,” Kim Chhun said.
Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loans, Grant Aid and Technical Cooperation from Japan means Sihanoukville Port is an international-standard port, continuously enhancing quality and its environment, as well as improving productivity, he added. This has led to improved customer satisfaction, with benefits and cost competitiveness provided to all the port’s users in accordance with international standards.
Such developments mean Kim Chhun expects that in next 10 years container ships will be able to transport goods directly from Cambodia to destinations across Asia-Pacific, the US and the EU without needing transshipment at other ports.
“The government of Japan through Jica has provided solid support and constant assistance in both hardware and software for the development of Sihanoukville Port.
“Jica has identified that the development of Sihanoukville Port is significant for the economic growth of Cambodia and poverty reduction. Sihanoukville Port will play an essential role as one of the main container gateways in the region.
“I am confident that Japan – through Jica – will continue in its phenomenal role as development partner,” Kim Chhun said.