PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol is urging companies to speed up the construction of a goods transit terminal at Cambodia’s Stung Bot border gate to facilitate cross-border trade with Thailand.
Chanthol made the push while leading the Public Works and Transport Ministry’s delegation to inspect the progress of the border infrastructure construction, the Khmer Times reported on Friday.
Stung Bot border gate’s infrastructure projects, including the administration building, border checkpoint building, dormitory building, goods transit terminal, warehouse and container yard are 5 percent complete. The projects are scheduled to be completed in the next 21 months.
The US$26.89-million infrastructure projects, which are being constructed under a loan project of the Neighbouring Economic Development Cooperation Agency, will take 24 months to complete.
The projects were conceived by Thai-owned company CM Grand Development Co and Tan Kim Eng Co under the auspices of a technical inspection by Team Consulting Engineering and Management Plc, according to the ministry.
The Stung Bot checkpoint is opposite Ban Nong Ian in Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen opened a friendship bridge linking Nong Ian and Stung Bot in April last year.
Chanthol said that the purpose of the mission was to review the technical progress of construction and to urge both the construction company and technical consultants to gear up the development and comply with the technical standards set out in the contract.
“It should be noted that the opening of the border crossing at Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian will open up a wide range of opportunities for international cooperation, investment, cross-border trade, job creation and attracting tourists to boost the family economy and society of both nations,” he said.
Chanthol said the implementation of this project was delayed for two months by the Covid-19 pandemic and the rainy season.
“However, the president of the construction company has pledged his commitment to complete the project on schedule,” he added.
The minister at the same time has asked for discussions with Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob to find out more about the procedures to open the Stung Bot port temporarily to facilitate the transportation of goods across the border while Poipet is being used for the entry of tourists.
Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Logistics Association, said that Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian border gate will help reduce traffic congestion at the Poipet international border gate.
“Because both passenger and goods transportation currently are made via Poipet it causes traffic congestion so the governments of both countries have cooperated to open this gate for goods transportation while Poipet will be used for tourism only,” he said.
Chanthy said the border gate will not only boost the trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand, it will also help facilitate international cooperation with Cambodia as well.
“With this gate we could use the Thai Laem Chabang seaport to send our goods to the international markets because the cost of transportation is cheaper,” he said.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand was worth some $9 billion in 2019, up 7.14% from $8.4 billion in 2018 with a goal set at $15 billion in 2020, according to data from the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
The development of Cambodia’s cross-border infrastructure and the separation of traffic at the border checkpoints are urgently needed by the Cambodian government, which has unveiled plans to improve facilities at border gates with Thailand and Vietnam in order to ease cross-border transport and boost trade activities.
The government said it is also focusing on the renovation of infrastructure at the Bavet-Moc Bai international border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province to implement a one-window service at the border.