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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28  February 2011

Transportation on the Mekong urged

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Cambodia is pushing businesses to make greater use of the Mekong for transportation, after an agreement with Vietnam easing restrictions on river transport went into effect last year.

Ministry of Public Works and Transportation Secretary of State Mom Sibon said Cambodia currently could benefit more from use of the Mekong river than it does at present. “We want our citizens to use the river [for] transporting goods as costs are cheap and transportation can be on a large scale,” he said at a seminar held in Phnom Penh yesterday.

An agreement inked in December 2009 and enacted in June 2010 eased restrictions for boats travelling the Mekong.

Cambodian ships were given direct access to Vietnam’s Cai Mep deepwater port under the agreement, while reciprocal privileges were offered to Vietnamese ships at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port.

Last year, the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port handled more than 1 million tonnes of goods travelling to and from Vietnam, but Mom Sibon yesterday said there was the potential to transport more than 2 million tonnes in coming years.

Yesterday, Phnom Penh Autonomous Port Director Hei Bavy said investors could be confident there were strong laws in place for Cambodian, Vietnamese, and foreign firms transporting goods on the river.

Cambodia National Mekong Committee Secretary General Pich Dun said increasing use of the river for transport could assist economic and social development, adding that the committee would support increased transportation.

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