Building water links to Vietnam

Authorities are planning upgrades to effectively double the capacity of boats travelling from Phnom Penh Autonomous Port to Vietnam, according to port Director General Hei Bavy. A 2009 agreement with Vietnam authorities allows ships travelling down the Mekong from Cambodia to offload at Cai Mep deepwater port near Ho Chi Minh City, and re-load onto larger vessels to make the trip overseas. Although the agreement has led to a large increase in shipments from Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP), experts say more could be done to improve the link. PPAP Director General Hei Bavy said making the connecting waterway deeper would allow for larger, more efficient boats to make the journey to Cai Mep. “In Vietnam, they plan to rehabilitate navigation accessibilities [along the river] by 2013, which will expand the capacity from 10,000 tonnes to over 20,000 tonnes.” Expansions at PPAP are pending and are slated for completion in 2015, said Hei Bavy (Liam Barnes with additional reporting by Jeremy Mullins, p 7).