Cambodia is bordered by Thailand, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. The country has four main drivers of growth: agriculture, tourism, manufacturing (garments for export), and commercial and residential construction. Past civil war and neglect has left Cambodia’s infrastructure underdeveloped, particularly its transport system. This has put constraints on regional integration, and regional and international trade, hindering economic development. Multiple factors are the cause of the transport network’s inadequate condition, including poor traffic safety, low capacity for performing maintenance work, and vehicle overloading, which are further exacerbated by inclement weather and heavy rain for seven months of the year.

The country’s national road network consists of 2,117km of paved roads connecting it to other GMS countries. It also includes 3,146km of secondary and 6,441km of provincial roads that are mostly unpaved (laterite). There are 33,005km of earth or laterite-surfaced roads serving rural communities, with many of them in poor condition and unusable during the seven-month wet season. The rural roads that make up 71 per cent of the country’s total road network are mostly in poor condition. Recently, investments have improved some of these roads, although they are easily damaged due to the poor quality of the local gravel used in their construction, the wet season, and high traffic – leading to roads needing re-gravelling every three years.

Source: Asian Development Bank, Cambodia Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map, September 2011 (link to resource)

Cambodia trade demand and key transport routes

An analysis of Cambodian trade suggests that the most important road route is the southern sub-corridor of the Southern Corridor (Asian Highway 1 or AH1) westward through Poipet into Thailand and eastward through Bavet into Viet Nam. The southern end of the Central Corridor between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (AH11) is also considered important, especially for third-country trade. The Mekong waterway link between Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon Port) is significant for lower-value bulk traffic. Trade movement along the Southern Coastal Corridor, the northern sub-corridor of the Southern Corridor through Siem Reap, and the Central Corridor north of Phnom Penh are considered to handle only limited amounts of international freight traffic and therefore are less of a development priority.

Source: Transport and Logistics in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report [Final Report] 2012 [Link to Resources]


CBTA in Cambodia

After Cambodia’s ratification of the main CBTA agreement and its 20 Annexes and Protocols in 2001, the country began the pilot implementation of the Exchange of Road Traffic Rights with Thailand at the Aranyaprathet–Poipet border in June 2012. This enables trucks and buses to operate along the Bangkok–Aranyaprathet–Poipet–Siem Reap and Bangkok–Aranyaprathet–Poipet–Phnom Penh routes – linking two hubs in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC). Scheduled passenger buses now ply the Bangkok–Siem Reap and Bangkok–Phnom Penh routes, providing a more efficient and cheaper alternative to air travel from the key Thai and Cambodian destinations.  

The Exchange of Road Traffic Rights between Viet Nam and Cambodia enabled the transport permit quota between the two countries to go up to 300 permits (per country) for goods, vehicles and people for seven entry/exit points, including the Bavet–Moc Bai border. Additional entry/exit points will be opened in the future, and there are ongoing discussions to increase the current permit quotas.


Cambodia Ministry of Public Works and Transport:


Cambodia MPWT Resource Library:

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