The Bassac River Navigation and Logistics System (“BRNLS”) is a proposed waterway that will connect Phnom Penh to Kampot via the Bassac River. The project would enable goods to be shipped to and from the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port without having to go through Vietnam.
The Bassac Sea-Link will be approximately 180 km in length. The project will include a 7km-long new canal, and segments of existing waterways will be deepened.
The project will have three locks to maintain the water level. The gates are from the Mekong River to the Bassac River, in Takeo, and in Kep.
The Bassac River is a distributary of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River that starts in Phnom Penh and flows into Vietnam near Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta Region.
[Bassac River in Phnom Penh.]
The starting point of the sea link on the Bassac River is likely to be Prek Ambel commune, Sa’ang district, Kandal province. The seaport is not confirmed but it is expected to be the International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre in Kampot.
The new waterway would bypass the need to transport goods through Vietnam, reducing processing and shipping costs. This would also reduce the need to ship containers to the Cat Lai and Cai Mep ports in Vietnam, which are then delivered to Cambodia by road.
The new water link has the potential for tourism use, and for new urban developments along the canal.
Read more editorial on why Cambodia should rebuild the railway instead of building a canal.
Bassac Sea-Link map
An official map isn’t released yet. This map shows points that are mentioned in news releases.
[Map of Bassac Sea-Link.]
Waterway link study sent for Cabinet approval – [20/04/23]
“The “two-year-long thorough and comprehensive” feasibility study was conducted by the Chinese state-owned China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and CCCC Water Transportation Consultants Co Ltd, in collaboration with technical experts at the involved ministries, it recapped.”
Bassac sea link project to be submitted for Cabinet approval – [20/04/23]
“After finding no technical issues or environmental impact, the feasibility study of a navigation and logistics project to link the Bassac River in Kandal province to a seaport in the Kep province is set to be submitted for Cabinet approval soon, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said.”
No issues with Bassac-Kampot seaport project: study – [04/03/23]
“The feasibility study of a navigation and logistics project to link the Bassac River in Phnom Penh to a “seaport” in the Kampot-Kep region shows that there are no technical, environmental or legal issues, according to the transport ministry.”
Bassac sea link needs just one new canal: Chanthol – [19/02/23]
“The completion of a proposed waterway link from the Bassac River to a “seaport” in the Kampot-Kep region will require the excavation of just one new canal, around 7km long, according to Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol.”
Bassac sea-link to reach Kampot seaport: ministry – [01/02/23]
“A key study on a proposed waterway link from the Bassac River to the sea in the Kampot-Kep region has been completed, the transport ministry reported, revealing plans for the project to connect to a “seaport” in Kampot province, igniting hopes for a solid pop in economic growth for the Kingdom.”
Detail study on new waterway connecting Tonle Bassac to Kep set for completion – [31/01/23]
“According to the study, the project will have three gates including a gate from the Mekong River to the Bassac River, a gate in Takeo, and a gate in Kep to stabilise the water level.”
Bassac sea-link Phase II studies due end-Jan – [15/12/22]
“The second phase of a feasibility study on a proposed waterway link from the Bassac River to the sea in Kep province is scheduled to be completed by end-January, reported the public works ministry. The project is seen as a massive support for the transportation market and the export business.”
Feasibility study of new waterway connecting PP to Kep to be finalised in November – [22/09/22]
“The detailed feasibility study of a project to build a new water transport system along the Bassac River connecting Phnom Penh Port to Kep, Kampot, and Sihanoukville Ports is scheduled for completion in November.”
Prek Ambel eyed for Bassac sea link – [18/07/22]
“Cambodia is pushing to complete a study on the feasibility of using southeastern Kandal province’s Prek Ambel village as the starting point for the Bassac River waterway link to the sea in Kep province.”
Study on Bassac River-Kep sea waterway link finished – [24/04/22]
“Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol on April 22 met a delegation of the China Road and Bridge Corp, “representing CCCC Transportation Consultants Co Ltd”, via video link to discuss a recently-completed feasibility study on the Bassac River Navigation and Logistics System project, the ministry said in a statement later that day.”
Cambodia initiates study on Bassac River Waterway for logistics project – [23/04/23]
“The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is planning to establish a new waterway utilising a canal from Bassac river to the sea in Kep province for the transport and tourism sectors without having to go through Vietnam.”
Waterway to connect Phnom Penh and sea in Kep province – [01/02/22]
“Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol said that the ministry was studying connecting waterways from Phnom Penh to the sea in Kep province to facilitate overseas shipping without going through Vietnam.”
Bassac River-Kep sea waterway link on the cards – [31/01/22]
“The Ministry of Public Works and Transport plans to create a connection between the Bassac River and the sea in Kep province to provide a viable alternative for waterway passenger and freight traffic to enter Cambodia without passing through Vietnam, and hence spur economic growth.”
alistair nicoll says
Can these vessels actually get up the Mekong through Vietnam at the moment because if the answer is yes then the obvious question is how much will this cost and what exactly are the economic benefits that would be gained (excluding the boost to employment building it) by not passing through Vietnam
James Clark says
I have many questions as well. I will write an editorial to go with this fact sheet.