Sihanoukville to Rise as ASEAN’s Sustainable Hub with Multi-Purpose SEZ Master Plan

PHNOM PENH: is set for a major transformation as the Cambodian government unveiled its “Master Plan for the Development of Sihanoukville into a Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone (SEZ)”.

This ambitious project aligns with the “Pentagon Strategy Phase 1” and positions Sihanoukville as a key economic driver under the leadership of Prime Hun Manet.

The plan, solidified during a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on July 9, 2024, outlines a long-term vision with three key goals:

Cambodia's Gateway: Sihanoukville will become a multimodal transport and logistics hub, a flourishing business center, and an international financial center.

National Development Powerhouse: The city will be transformed into a world-class destination for coastal tourism, a national center for industrial development, and a hub for technological innovation.

Sustainable Metropolis: Sihanoukville aims to become a leading ASEAN city known for its multiculturalism, commitment to environmental protection, and utilization of smart green technologies.

This vision will be achieved through a two-phase implementation:

Phase 1 (2025-2028): Focus on integrating Sihanoukville into regional trade, expanding logistics and tourism infrastructure, revitalizing the existing city, and developing new areas to attract high-value investments.

Phase 2 (2029-2038): Solidify Sihanoukville's position as a national and regional leader in finance, trade, industry, transportation, and technology.

The city will also transform into a model green and smart city, attracting high-income residents and achieving significant economic prosperity.
The Sihanoukville Multi-Purpose SEZ Master Plan signifies the Cambodian government's commitment to propelling the city into a prominent economic zone, a global destination, and a sustainable leader within ASEAN.

Sihanoukville's Strong Economic Foundation

Sihanoukville boasts a strong foundation for this ambitious transformation. The province is a major player in several key sectors prioritized by the Royal Government for national economic development, including industry, trade, tourism, and agriculture. These strengths are bolstered by existing infrastructure like the Deep Sea Port, 11 Special Economic Zones (3 operational and 8 planned), Sihanoukville International Airport, and its beautiful beaches, nicknamed “Southwest Star.”

Investment and Recent Challenges

Between 2018 and 2022, Sihanoukville attracted significant investment, with 1,588 applications in the construction sector alone. These projects encompassed a total construction area of over 14.6 million square meters and represented a combined investment capital of $7.9 billion.

However, the city faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Stalled investment projects emerged as a major concern. The Cambodian government has responded with full support to revitalize the city's investment scene.

New Incentive Packages Drive Investment

Sihanoukville recently unveiled a new Special Incentive Package, unlocking a significant $2 billion investment boost. This initiative builds on the success of the “Sihanoukville Special Investment Promotion Program 2024” launched in January. That program has already approved special benefits for 63 projects. This latest package focuses on 22 new projects valued at over $2 billion USD, further revitalizing Sihanoukville's investment scene.

The Sihanoukville Multi-Purpose SEZ Master Plan, coupled with the government's strong commitment to investment, signifies a new era for the city. With its solid economic foundation and focus on sustainability, Sihanoukville is poised to become a prominent economic zone, a global destination, and a sustainable leader within ASEAN.

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