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HCMC seeks $906 mln to boost inland waterway traffic

By Gia Minh   September 3, 2020 | 04:00 am PT
HCMC seeks $906 mln to boost inland waterway traffic
Water buses on the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City, December 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.
Vietnam’s southern metropolis requires more than VND21 trillion ($906 million) to open 110 inland waterways to traffic over the next 30 years.

As estimated by the city's Transport Department, more than VND4.1 trillion is needed to turn idle canals and river sections, stretching a total 1,000 km (620 miles), into traffic routes and build ports.

The yearly maintenance cost for such routes would total VND570 billion, or more than VND17 trillion in 30 years, the department said.

In its plan to develop inland waterway traffic in the 2021-2030 period and with a vision toward 2050, the city’s waterway network would be developed based on three basic directions, including four routes to connect the city downtown with Hiep Phuoc Port in Nha Be District, three routes connecting the eastern part of the city with Cat Lai Port in District 2, and two ring routes.

To boost regional connectivity, HCMC and its eastern industrial neighbors will be linked via five routes, with five more routes serving the Mekong Delta region to the southwest.

The city will also focus on completing its system of inland container depots to transfer goods from industrial parks and export processing zones to sea ports.

Plans will also be developed for ports to serve local passengers and tourists.

Bui Hoa An, deputy director of the transport department, confirmed that from now until 2050, six ports and five routes to connect the eastern part of the city with neighboring Dong Nai Province, along with four routes linking the inner city with Hiep Phuoc Port should be given priority.

"The city needs investors. Thus, it is necessary to develop riverbanks, canals and ditches to encourage businesses to exploit waterway infrastructure," he said.

The city has agreed with the department's plan on principle, but suggested it have other agencies review and assess the plan to incorporate it into the city's general transport infrastructure development project for the 2020-30 term.

The department is also required to study the plan more to expand the waterway network towards Cu Chi and Binh Chanh districts in the southern part of the city.

In the past five years, the city had spent just VND1.5 trillion on inland waterway projects, or only 5.4 percent of the total sum spent on road traffic infrastructure.

Last year, cargo output via waterways in the city reached more than 31 million tons, or 35 percent of the amount transported via roads.

The number of passengers passing through inland ports and wharves last year reached over 36 million, up 1.1 percent against 2018.

 
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