Japanese follow-up team arrives in Cambodia

October 21st, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

A group of Japanese experts arrived in Cambodia Tuesday for a two-day visit as a follow-up team regarding the needs survey implemented last May for electoral reform assistance to Cambodia.

The team was led by Mr. Tadayuki MIYASHITA, Director, Country Assistance Planning Division I, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and included 4 members from JICA. …

The experts will meet with Kem Sokha, first vice president of the National Assembly and acting president of CNRP, Wednesday, and also CPP’s officials.

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

First buses, now trains could come to capital

August 28th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

As part part of its multibillion-dollar Urban Transport Master Plan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) unveiled a modern rail system for Phnom Penh yesterday that could begin operation as soon as 2023.

The trains would thin out traffic on the capital’s choked-up roads, which currently lack any sort of public transport save a lone bus line along Monivong Boulevard – though more lines are planned. …

Charles Rollet

Japan to Install “Smart” Traffic Lights Throughout Cambodia’s Capital

August 21st, 2014 , Next City

As Cambodia’s economy has boomed over the last decade, the broad French-built boulevards and leafy backstreets of Phnom Penh have become bottlenecks, with giant SUVs parked two- or three- deep, clogging the roads. At peak hour, the center of town turns into a Hobbesian crush of all against all, a gridlock of motorbikes, cars, bicycles and hulking SUVs, each giving no quarter and ceding no unnecessary inch.

Japan has worked to alleviate Cambodia’s traffic woes before, and as the gridlock worsens, is jumping back into the fray with a total overhaul of the capital’s traffic light system. Over the next few years, Tokyo’s development arm, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), hopes to replace the traffic lights at Phnom Penh’s 69 controlled intersections and add around 30 more, then link the entire system together with a computerized central control station. …

Sebastian Strangio

Phnom Penh to get new water treatment plant

August 2nd, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Construction is to begin this month on a $40 million water treatment plant to help Phnom Penh meet a growing demand for clean water, following an official contract signing ceremony Friday.

The plant, called Niroth 2, is the second stage in a massive water treatment facility being built by the state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) with a loan from the French development agency (AFD).

The first stage, which was funded jointly by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AFD, has been producing 130,000 cubic meters of potable water per day since January last year. …

Holly Robertson and Kang Sothear

Cracks discovered in bridge

July 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MPWT) and the Phnom Penh municipality are preparing a ban on heavy trucks crossing the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge after cracks were discovered in a pillar on the bridge’s eastern end, a City Hall official confirmed yesterday.

At a meeting on Wednesday led by MPWT Secretary of State Toch Chan Kosal and Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Chreang Sophan, officials determined that the nearly 50-year-old bridge – also known as the Chroy Changvar bridge – was in need of repairs, and would be off-limits to vehicles weighing more than 2.5 tonnes while those repairs were under way. …

Sen David

More work needed at the tax dept, JICA says

July 2nd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The General Tax Department of Cambodia (GTD) needs to improve a number of administration processes to enhance revenue collection and make a greater contribution to the economy, a recent study released yesterday by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reveals. …

According to data from GTD, Cambodia received $443 million in tax revenue during the first five months this year, an increase of 12 per cent from $394 million in the corresponding period last year.

Hor Kimsay

As lake disappears, a development dilemma

June 30th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Looking out from his house, held up by three-meter stilts on a peninsula that juts into Boeng Tompun lake, Chan Sokhom can see the sand inching closer to him every day.

Within a few years, the sand will likely reach his doorstep. By then, Mr. Sokhom hopes, he and his neighbors in Boeng Tompun commune will have exchanged their property for suitable compensation packages. …

In 2009, Phnom Penh City Hall granted approval for private companies to develop Boeng Tompun lake into a high-end residential development. Since then, construction crews have been burying the 2,600-hectare lake in sand. …

But apart from being home to a few hundred people, Boeng Tompun has another, more crucial role to Phnom Penh. It helps treat much of Phnom Penh’s wastewater and is crucial to efforts to control flooding.

Phnom Penh doesn’t have a wastewater treatment center, and relies instead on the natural flow of water through dense vegetation in a series of wetlands to filter the dirty water. …

One solution proposed by City Hall has been to hold on to 500 hectares out of Boeng Tompun’s total area for the purpose of sewage treatment, according to City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche. …

City Hall acknowledges the need for a sewage solution as well, but Mr. Dimanche says that building a treatment plant is not within the city’s budget. …

City Hall has “no plans to give land titles to the people of Boeng Tompun because they live on state land,” according to Mr. Dimanche, the municipal spokesman.

Some Boeng Tompun villagers worry that they will become the next Boeng Kak lake community, where more than 3,000 families were subjected to forced evictions and continue to fight for better compensation packages. …

Cameron Rhoads and Sek Odom

Stop and go: More traffic lights going up in capital

June 13th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh is looking to improve its traffic light system and will fit more than 30 unregulated intersections with traffic lights by February next year, City Hall has announced.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is assisting the city, has prioritised the system as a better way of managing traffic in the capital, it said on Monday. …

Annie Lee

City looks to overhaul traffic light system

June 12th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

A solution may be at hand for Phnom Penh’s degenerating traffic congestion problem as Japan’s International Cooperation Agency is readying a project aimed at completely overhauling the city’s non-intuitive traffic light system, City Hall announced Tuesday.

The study, which will begin within the next month and run to the end of January 2015, will roll out across the city during 2015 to 2016 if it is deemed a success by City Hall and is approved by the Japanese government, a statement on the municipal website says. …

Simon Henderson and Khuon Narim

By 2020, $9 billion needed for road funding: report

May 28th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia needs $9 billion to be invested into 850 kilometres of roadways by 2020, according to a study by Henan Provincial Communications Planning Survey and Design Institute.

From the Chinese province of Henan, officials from the state-owned engineering institute went to great lengths yesterday to explain that scientific analysis was behind their Cambodia Expressway Development Master Plan, a report delivered to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Phnom Penh.

“To build and improve a modern transport network, covering the whole nation, connecting every province and city, SEZs, resource-exploitation areas, tourist regions, essential ports, docks, airports and other areas, at first there shall be a scientific development and a reasonable plan,” said Li Qiang, chief engineer at the Henan Provincial Communications Planning Survey and Design Institute. …

Hor Kimsay

Cambodia to rear prawns in ‘third water’

May 26th, 2014 , Far Eastern Agriculture

Cambodian farmers will open three prawn farms this summer in the mountain region using Japanese technique of ‘third water’ for creating artificial river and seawater

The artificial water is a blend of fresh water and a carefully measured mix of minerals, including salts of sodium, potassium and calcium.

The project in the Cambodian province of Takeo will be led by Japan’s overseas aid organisation — Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Roughly 30,000 giant river prawns are to be reared at each of three farms from August in 2014. The prawn sells for eight times the price of fish in Cambodia. JICA will monitor the farms’ efficiency and cost savings.

Kenji Kaneko of JICA’s rural development department, said that the water is likely to help spur onshore aquaculture technology in developing countries. …

Far Eastern Agriculture News Staff

“Third water” prawn farming project to kick off in Cambodia

May 14th, 2014 , Bernama

An onshore prawn farming project using water known as “third water” developed by Toshimasa Yamamoto, associate professor at Okayama University of Science, will start in August in a mountain village in Cambodia, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.

Aquaculture on land is expected to improve nutrition and alleviate poverty, but disease has been a huge hurdle so far.

However, Yamamoto’s third water prevents disease-causing agents from spreading. “It is magic water that enables aquafarming without chemicals. We can turn a mountain village into a fishing village,” he says. …

The water is made by mixing each liter of freshwater with some 10 grams of such minerals as sodium, potassium and calcium. The salt level in the water is almost the same as that of fish and shellfish. It tastes slightly salty.

The water, which costs one-10th or less of the price of artificial seawater, was granted a patent in 2012. To date, tiger puffers and eels have been cultivated with the water. …

The project in the Cambodian province of Takeo will be led by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Some 30,000 giant river prawns will be reared at each of three farms. The prawn sells for eight times the price of ordinary fish in the Southeast Asian country. JICA will verify the effects of using the water on the efficiency and cost reduction. ….

Bernama News Staff

After strong start, city bus’ future unclear

May 14th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

After a monthlong test run saw 10 buses often filled with passengers, a Chinese-owned company promised in early March to inject millions into the project and add hundreds of new buses.

But Global Trade Development left the project last month after the municipality refused to grant tax breaks for the company’s metered taxi business, officials said. And now City Hall is shouldering the responsibility for running the fledgling bus service as it looks for a suitable company to take it over.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said Tuesday that the municipal department of public works and transport has assumed control of the city’s buses and vowed there will be no interruption to the 36-stop service along Monivong Boulevard as it searches for prospective companies. …

But the fanfare that greeted the arrival of the bus was dampened soon after JICA handed the bus project over to Global Trade, which controversially secured the deal without bidding and on the basis of a verbal agreement.

It had promised to spend $12 million to add more than 300 new buses to a total of 10 citywide routes, but quickly pulled out because of what company CEO Lim Andre described as “technical problems.” …

Mr. Dimanche said City Hall stopped working with Global Trade after it became clear that the company was seeking a tax exemption that would allow it to import not just buses, but also duty-free cars for its metered taxi company. …

Ou Kimsan, deputy chief of the transport office at the municipal department of public works and transport, which currently runs the bus service, said that it also became clear that Global Trade would not live up to its commitments. …

Mr. Kimsan said that several companies have expressed interest in the bus service, but he would only confirm that South Korean company City Trans Cambodia had resubmitted its interest after having its initial bid of $5 million rejected by City Hall in favor of Global Trade. …

Hul Reaksmey and Simon Henderson

Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh expressway plans announced

April 29th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) revealed its plans Monday for a Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City expressway that will halve travel time between the two cities.

At an estimated cost of $2.2 billion, the initial target date for completion of the expressway is 2030, JICA representatives announced during a conference at Phnom Penh’s Raffles Hotel Le Royal. …

JICA expects the first section of the expressway to open around 2020. The entire 170 km road from Phnom Penh to Bavet, along with the remaining 90 km to Ho Chi Minh City, is expected to be finished by 2030. The expressway is part of JICA’s wider plan to build a corridor through Southeast Asia, which will also include a Bangkok to Phnom Penh route. …

The road also aims to further strengthen economic ties between Cambodia and Vietnam. Trade volume between the countries reach­ed $3.5 billion in 2013, up 25 percent year-on-year. Vietnamese nationals also represent the largest group of visitors to Cam­bodia. …

Joshua Wilwohl

Phnom Penh Authority decides to run public buses

April 10th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Phnom Penh City Hall decides to run public buses by itself after Chinese-owned Global withdrew​ itself due to internal issues.

Long Dimanche, spokesman for the City Hall, said that the Global withdrew itslef from the public bus service project after two-month trial from February 5th to April 4th, 2014. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Firm plans more bus lines

March 26th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Chinese firm Global (Cambodia) Trade Development will launch several more city bus lines in Phnom Penh over the next 10 months, dramatically expanding what has so far been a successful experiment to introduce mass transit to the capital, the company and state media said yesterday.

Lin Andre, Global’s chief executive, said that a total of 118 new buses will be deployed to serve routes on the Street 271 ring road, Sisowath Quay, and Mao Tse Tung, Kampuchea Krom, Sothearos and Russian boulevards, among others.

Vong Sokheng

Chinese firm takes over bus service, no bid needed

March 5th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Chinese-owned Global (Cambodia) Trade Development company takes over today as Phnom Penh’s new municipal bus operator, although City Hall said Tuesday that the company did not have to go through a bidding process to get the contract.

The creation of a permanent public bus system follows a successful one-month trial conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which saw 42,000 passengers boarding daily buses along a single route on Monivong Boulevard. …

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said that the municipal government should be more open when it comes to the procurement of public services.

“Public offers need to be made through a public process. The government should always go through a public and transparent process to ensure that the public and the government get the best possible deal,” he said. …

Simon Henderson and Sek Odom

Buses Attract 20,000 Passengers in Two Weeks

February 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

About 20,000 passengers have traveled on Phnom Penh’s limited city bus service since a month-long public transport experiment began two weeks ago, which bodes well for a citywide expansion of the service once the trial ends on March 4, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said Monday.

This is the second time the city has tried out public buses, but they are proving more popular this time around than in 2001, when a two-month trial service was scrapped halfway through due to waning public demand.

“Two weeks into the public bus experiment, we are seeing on average 1,600 to 1,700 passengers per day, with some days predictably seeing more passengers than others,” Mr. Dimanche said. …

Sek Odom and Simon Henderson

Water authority eyes new station for 2017

February 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) announced the construction of a fifth water treatment station yesterday, saying that without an additional plant, the capital could face a severe clean-water shortage as soon as 2017.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, PPWSA deputy director Samreth Sovithchea told reporters that the capital’s current clean-water capacity will be around 460,000 cubic metres per day by 2016 – when a still-unfinished treatment station is completed – but by 2017, increases in demand will leave residents high and dry again. …

The proposed project will include a station with a capacity of 130,000 cubic metres per day, as well as a 700-kilometre expansion of the city’s pipe network, Sovithchea added, with the $50 million price tag paid by the government and donors. The price of water for consumers will not change, he continued. …

Sen David

Test Drive Begins for New City Bus Service

February 6th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Ten buses set off Wednesday morning along Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh on a month-long test-run to determine if the public is ready to jettison their motorbikes and luxury cars and hop on board mass transport.

This is the second attempt by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the municipal authorities to address traffic congestion by establishing a public bus service, following a two-month trial in 2001 that was terminated due to public indifference. …

At the start point, Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatavong told the crowd of about 100 mostly local government officials, with a smattering of curious onlookers, that City Hall was determined to ensure the success of the city bus service this time around.

“If there is only a trial and the operation is then ended, it will have been meaningless,” he said, adding that the 36-stop trial route from the “Old Stadium” roundabout to Chbar Ampov across the Monivong Bridge is just one of five planned routes in the city.

“More than $300 million is lost annually due to traffic accidents in [Cambodia], which is devastating and a tragedy for our city…so I appeal to people to start changing their attitudes and support this project,” he said to launch the bus service. …

Hul Reaksmey and Simon Henderson