Ministry plans to utilise potential of country's waterways
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The country's waterway productivity is expected to increase by 72 per cent, thanks to the construction of ports and harbours and the dredging work in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.


The construction of ports and harbours and the dredging work
in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta

Under a transport ministry's plan, the delta's waterway will be able to handle 83 million tonnes of cargo a year. The plan will be carried out from now to 2020, with a focus on a comprehensive development of logistics infrastructure.

The delta will have new deep seaports, both general and functional ones, which will meet various logistics demands, including the accommodation of container vessels. Dredging work will be also conducted to widen the waterways leading to the ports.

The capacity of the existing Can Tho Port will be increased to 650,000 tonnes a year. The port is expected to accommodate 10,000-tonne ships after the upgrade work.

Also in Can Tho City, the Cai Cui Port will begin the second phase of construction of four harbours for accommodating ships weighing up to 20,000 tonnes. It will be able to handle 2.5 million tonnes of cargo a year, including 800,000 tonnes of container goods.

The Tra Noc Port in the city will also get two more harbours. The city authorities will shift the Ninh Kieu (passenger ship) harbour to another place to make way for other ships. They will construct an on-sea transit harbour near Dinh An estuary, allowing the docking of 60,000-tonne ships.

The ministry also conducted the dredging of a 34km man-made canal, creating a shortcut from the East Sea to the city via Tra Vinh Province. The canal is expected to help operate waterway transport in the delta and reduce pressure on the waterways connecting the delta and HCM City.

The construction, upgrade and dredging work will take place in other sites around the delta, including Ham Luong in Ben Tre Province, the buffer zone in Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces, and the Plain Reefs and Long Xuyen Quadrangle in Dong Thap and An Giang provinces.

The ministry also organised the upgrade of a 253km corridor connecting Kien Giang and HCM City, and a 148km corridor linking Ca Mau and HCM City.

The plan is expected to boost economic development in the delta localities. According to the ministry report, there is a huge potential for developing waterway transport in the delta, with a 700km-long coast and a 23,000km-long canal transport system, accounting for 70 per cent of the country's total waterways.

A report by the Vietnam Maritime Administration said 80 per cent of cargo transported to and from the delta, which is also called the southwestern region, had to stop at ports in the southeastern region, including those in HCM City, Ba Ria - Vung Tau and Dong Nai provinces.

The transit resulted in the increase in cost by US$10 of each tonne of cargo and exerted more pressure on the roads. The ministry's plan, therefore, is expected to improve the situation.