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Ministry greenlights huge upgrade for Mekong ports

Update: February, 06/2014 - 10:08
The ministry originally planned to build the canal in the Hau River to replace the 30-km Dinh An Canal. However, the project was halted following questions regarding its effectiveness.— Photo vccinews       

HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Transport has resumed a project to build a new canal in southern Tra Vinh Province to make it navigable for vessels of up to 10,000 tonnes.

According to Deputy Minister Nguyen Van The, the project, with capital investment of VND6.6 trillion (US$310 million), had received approval to restart.

The ministry originally planned to build the canal in the Hau River to replace the 30-km Dinh An Canal. However, the project was halted following questions regarding its effectiveness.

The canal, the only artery linking the ports with the sea, is one of the busiest waterways in the country, but has a depth of just three metres. The constant build-up of sand in the canal blocks large ships from travelling in and out of the area.

Every year, the city spent billions of dong to dredge the canal, but it is blocked up again in a few months.

The new canal, which connects Quan Chanh Bo Canal to the East Sea, is expected to solve the problem with a depth of 6.5-8.5 metres. Tran Trung Hoang, director of southern Tien Giang Province's Transport Department, said the new canal would increase the transport capacity of the Mekong River, meeting 80 per cent of transport demands from surrounding provinces to HCM City and Tra Vinh Province.

Pham Tiet Khoa, deputy head of the Tra Vinh Economic Zone Management Board, said many vessels had been grounded in the Dinh An Canal, so dredging was a temporary solution to the serious silt deposits while the new canal was being built.

The routes connecting HCM City and Long An, Tien Giang, Dong Thap, An Giang and Kien Giang will be completed by 2015, while the Cho Gao-Tien Giang canals connecting Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and HCM City are under construction.

The Mekong Delta pro­duces up to seven million tonnes of commercial goods each year, but its ports can only handle about one-fifth of the freight. — VNS

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