July 19, 2011

Economic zone almost complete


WORK on the US$40 million Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone 1 (SEZ) is due to be completed at the end of this year, SEZ managing director Lou Kim Chhun says.

The project aims to attract manufacturers to set up shop near the Kingdom’s only deepwater port.

Development of the SEZ began in November, 2009 on a  68-hectare site. It was funded by a soft loan from Japan and built by Dai Ho Corporation.

“We’re spending about $40 million to develop the infrastructure, roads, water, power, and administration facilities, all of which are nearly completed,” Lou Kim Chhun said.

The SEZ will offer on-site services such as logistics firms and representatives of government ministries, with the aim of making it easier for manufacturers to base there.

Its location next to the port would also make transport easier, Lou Kim Chhun said.

“We will accept assembly plants of all kinds [in the SEZ], including vehicles, electronic goods and manufacturing plants making things such as umbrellas, shoes and clothing,” he said.

Asking prices for rentals are between US$50 and $65 per square metre a month, with contracts for 50 years.

SEZ officials were negotiating with investors, particularly from Japan, South Korea and China, Lou Kim Chhun said.

“We get a lot of investors who want to invest and open their business in the zone.

“We’re still discussing the prices for renting the space, but it’s good news for us.

“It’s not a problem. Once we agree on prices, the zone will  soon be full.”

The SEZ was experiencing particular interest from Jap-anese, South Korean and Chi-nese investors, Lou Kim Chhun said.

Council for the Development of Cambodia deputy secretary- general in charge of SEZs Chea Vuthy said the projects were designed to facilitate business in Cambodia.

“The Sihanoukville SEZ has lots of potential for investors to do business in the zone, because it’s next to the port and it will be easier to export products,” he said.

The CDC has approved 21 SEZs across the Kingdom.  Four have opened so far:  the Manhattan SEZ; the Tai Seng Bavet SEZ, in Svay Rieng Province; the Phnom Penh SEZ; and the Sihanoukville SEZ 2.

Two other projects, the Sihanoukville SEZ 1 and the Neang Kok Koh Kong SEZ, in Koh Kong province, are under construction.

In February, the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone announced that all the sites in its first phase had been spoken for and work was beginning  on phase two.

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