Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister mulls blacklisting firm over National Road 2, 22

Minister mulls blacklisting firm over National Road 2, 22

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Public works minister Sun Chanthol (third from right) inspects the National Road 2 construction on Saturday. MPWT

Minister mulls blacklisting firm over National Road 2, 22

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has warned that a South Korean company that was awarded the contracts to construct stretches of National Roads 2 and 22 may be blacklisted from operating in the Kingdom after the ministry determined it had worked too slowly and built poor-quality roads.

Chanthol gave the warning while leading a technical team of specialists to inspect progress on the construction of both national roads on April 23.

He said that after inspecting and testing the roads, the ministry found that the construction failed to comply with technical standards and he demanded immediate fixes.

“We went to test the foundations [of the road] and in some places they were durable but most of them fall below the standards set by the ministry. So I ordered my team to start demolishing the faulty portions from beginning to end.

“There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of examples to present to the technical inspection company and the construction firm where we couldn’t accept the quality of the roads the builders handed over to us,” he emphasised.

He noted that the Hanshin Engineering & Construction Co Ltd – which was awarded the contract to build the two national roads – also had the same sort of problems with its construction of a stretch of National Road 21, and therefore the ministry was considering blacklisting the company.

“Before discussing other projects we should decide whether to allow Hanshin to join the bidding process or not. We must decide whether we want any more headaches from this company blowing smoke at us,” Chanthol said. “We will discuss the issue further with the Korean side.

“Since there are so many problems with the construction on national roads 21, 22 and 2, we must decide whether this company should be allowed to bid again or if we make an agreement with Korea that from today we’re banning Hanshin from bidding for five years and blacklisting it.”

He added that in order to restore the stretches, the ministry’s technical team must demolish the road’s foundations and present a plan with procedures on how to solve these problems.

“Some places will need to be dug out again. We’ll have to dig them out in order to meet the technical specifications and to set an example for other companies that warns them that they must build high-quality roads according to the standards as agreed upon and not just make a perfunctory effort,” he said.

He noted that the construction of the roads cost more than $50 million and was financed by a loan from Korea. The AC concrete roads are intended to last 10-15 years.

Chanthol added that under the terms of the contract the works was to be completed in April 2022, but the company requested a four-month extension until August of this year.

“The excuse made by the construction company was that it was because of Covid. But I say don’t blame Covid for slow-construction of the roads. We have to look at the roots of the problem and we are aware that the company doesn’t have the standard machinery listed at market prices either,” he said.

However, he said he agreed to the delay and is waiting to see if the company complies with the technical standards or repeats its poor efforts again, which would be unacceptable to the ministry if it happens again in August.

He said that preferably the company will sit down and talk with the ministry’s technical team and with the third-party technical inspection firm so they correct everything – not just in one or a few places, but everywhere, and until then construction will be suspended if need be.

He also asked for patience from the public who used the roads and have already been inconvenienced by the construction for some time now.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director Kim Panga said the ministry’s inspection of the quality of the roads was key to ensuring that the roads the ministry had sought assistance or loans to construct were of high-quality, long-lasting and safe.

“And we know that building each road takes many years and if the project is delayed it causes difficulties for the people,” he said. “Right now it seems like the public works ministry is paying attention to the quality of roads being built while also speeding up construction times ... but the inspections should result in improved road conditions.”


  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports