mandag 1. april 2024

Cambodia getting a China-backed, game-changing canal

Cambodia wants to divert Southeast Asia’s Mekong River into a planned US$1.7 billion, Chinese-financed shipping canal to reach a deep-sea port at Kep near Sihanoukville on southern Cambodia’s Gulf of Thailand coast. The Funan Techo Canal would enable Cambodians to be “breathing through our own nose,” said newly elected Prime Minister Hun Manet, son and heir to long-time authoritarian former prime minister Hun Sen. Cambodia, for the first time, could import and export goods by ship from its capital Phnom Penh’s port via the canal to a would-be deepwater port in Kep province on the Gulf of Thailand, opening onto the South China Sea.

Ships to and from Hong Kong, Singapore and other ports could reroute, or add shipping lanes, to Kep to access the canal if it increases trade. Shipping containers from those ocean-going vessels would be transferred by cranes at Kep to and from canal barges.