TRA VINH (VNS)— The construction of a canal for heavyweight vessels from the sea to the Hau River in southern Tra Vinh Province will begin again under a Build-Transfer contract, with a payback period from 2020.
|Vessels going through the Hau River in southern Tra Vinh Province. The construction of a canal for heavyweight vessels from the sea to the Hau River will begin again under a Build-Transfer (BT) contract with a payback period from 2020. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
This investment form was the most reasonable to ensure construction was completed next year, said Transport Minister Dinh La Thang, on a working visit to inspect major transport construction in the province.
He urged project investor Viet Nam Maritime Administration to seek a competent partner for construction.
The administration said a Built-Operation-Transfer method was not suitable as few investors were interested in such public infrastructure and travelling fees were limited by the Government.
The construction of the 40km passage was first kicked off in 2009 with an investment of VND5 trillion (US$238 million) passage from Government bonds. However, by the middle of 2010, construction had ground to a halt due to lack of funds.
Head of Marine Project Management Board 3 Trinh Ngoc Thai said to Dau tu (Viet Nam Investment Review) that construction costs had increased when extra work was included.
He said the project was begun in tandem with the Duyen Hai Thermal Power Plant construction. Sand dredged from the river to open the passage was to be used in the foundation of the power plant in the same district of Duyen Hai.
Also, inflation and changing policies had added to drive up the costs, he said. At present, the estimated cost was VND10 trillion ($476 million).
Experts said, however, the cost was still "acceptable" because of the project's positive impact on the Mekong Delta region's socioeconomic development.
According to the Marine Administration, the Mekong Delta transported 9-12 million tonnes of goods by sea each year but only 30 per cent passed through ports in regional areas. The other 70 per cent went via ports in HCM City and Vung Tau, requiring land transport with freight costs of $10-15 per tonne.
Also, road transportation affected the quality of goods, especially agricultural products, and added to maintenance costs on the southern road network.
The opening of a canal to the Hau River would help reduce transport costs, and make regional products more competitive.
At present, vessels enter ports along the Hau River via the Dinh An passage which can take vessels under 5,000 tonnes. The new 40km canal makes a shortcut from the sea for vessels up to 20,000, passing through the Quan Chanh Bo channel to the river.
It's expected to transport 21-22 million tonnes of goods each year and 450,000-500,000 TEU [twenty-foot equivalent units] of containers each year by 2020. — VNS