Sihanoukville set to welcome another six industrial parks

The coastal province of Preah Sihanouk – considered to be one of the Kingdom’s economic hubs and a southwest rising star of the country – will soon be home to six more special economic zones (SEZ).

The additions will bring the total number of industrial parks in the province to 10, the provincial administration reported.

Provincial Governor Kouch Chamroeun, said that the 10 SEZs will occupy almost 2,600 hectares of land, with a capital investment of around $1.5 billion.

According to a recent report from the Council for the Development of Cambodia, 17 special economic zones are active in the country, mostly along the border with Vietnam and Thailand.

Of that, Preah Sihanouk currently boasts four industrial parks: H.K.T. SEZ, Sihanoukville SEZ #1, Sihanoukville Port SEZ and Sihanoukville SEZ, with 151 factories.

Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Asso​ciation, said that more SEZs means more investment is going into the province. “SEZs mostly attract manufacturing companies, providing more job opportunities and increasing the country’s exports,” he said.

He brought attention to the traffic problems the province has seen in recent years, pointing out that they could hinder the flow of investment.

“Fortunately, this matter is being addressed by the government, which is building the necessary infrastructure,” he said, referring to a $294 million project to restore and expand 34 roads in Preah Sihanouk.

The government is aiming to transform the province into a multi-purpose industrial area. Sihanoukville is now the Kingdom’s second economic hub, after Phnom Penh and ahead of Siem Reap.

The province also operates the country’s only deepwater port, with about 70 percent of the Kingdom’s imports and exports passing through it. About 10 shipping lines have signed contracts with Sihanoukville Autonomous Port to operate at the port every week. Those liners have routes that link to ports in the Asean region as well as Japan, China and South Korea.

Chamroeun said the province has all the means for transportation connection including air, water and land and rail links. He added the government is also making efforts to develop infrastructure to support investment activities.

A proposed new container terminal will have a depth of 14.5 metres and a length of 350 metres. Funding is courtesy of a $209 million soft loan from the Japanese government. Construction of the new terminal, according to the governor, will commence next year and targeted to be completed by 2024.

Chamroeun emphasised that the Japanese government has significantly contributed, especially in providing financial support to the project, noting that the second and third phase of the new container terminal will be built with an 18-meter depth, which will be completed by 2028.

“After the 18-meter depth terminal is complete, it will allow 97 percent of international large-scale ships to dock. That said, we expect to see more flow of investment in the province.

The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk expressway is set to finish by October 2022, which he said would be another import land connection to the coastal province.