HCM CITY — Viet Nam plans to develop waterway transport to ease congestion on busy roads, particularly in major cities like Ha Noi and HCM City.
|Waterway police patrol HCM City's Sai Gon River. Water transport is seen as an alternative means of travel that could reduce heavy traffic on roads in major cities, including Ha Noi and HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
The Ministry of Transport has given priority to the development of inland waterways along with road-transport improvement.
Both Ha Noi and HCM City often have chronic traffic congestion caused by the increasing number of vehicles on the roads.
Although the two cities have introduced many preventive measures, including limiting the number of personal vehicles, popularising public transport and changing working hours, traffic congestion remains a serious problem.
Waterway transport is seen as an alternative means of travel that could reduce heavy traffic on the roads. Viet Nam has one of the densest system of rivers in the world, which would be convenient for the development of waterway transport, according to a Transport Ministry survey.
However, inland waterways have not been used to the fullest because investment in waterway transport is still low, around 2.5 per cent of the total capital for the country's transport system.
There are more than 4,500km in the northern waterway system in use for transport, of which more than 2,600km are national, running through almost all the key economic, urban and industrial regions.
In the north, there are more than 30 river ports being used, but most of them were built in the 1980s and are old and outdated and unable to meet loading and transport demand. None is able to load containers.
The ministry's plan on inland waterway development until 2020 would exploit the advantages of the waterways for transport of overweight and over-sized goods.
Minimising pollution is another benefit of increased waterway transport.
Total investment for developing infrastructure of the inland waterway system until 2020 is estimated to be around VND37 trillion (US$1.76 billion).
The inland waterway transport system would be developed in a complete system that would provide safe and good quality services at reasonable prices, according to the plan.
The ministry's plan is to connect inland waterways with other transport networks to create a comprehensive transport system that would help boost local socio-economic growth.
To help the plan succeed, the ministry is calling on economic sectors to do business in the transport sector.
Accordingly, to encourage the participation of other private holders, state-owned enterprises would take only 10-15 per cent of shareholding.
Recently, the Viet Nam Inland Waterways Administration completed an outline plan through 2020 for a northern inland water port system.
HCM City has approved a plan by a private company to develop waterway boat routes within the city.
The Transport Ministry has also planned to upgrade and modernise key ports in major economic zones to make sure they would be able to transport 190-210 tonnes of goods and 530-540 millions of passengers by 2020. — VNS