|The Northern Genius arrives at the Sai Gon Premier Container Terminal in HCM City. The city has around 975km of waterways that could be used to transport goods, but the network has not been developed to its full potential due to limited investment. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS) — Waterway transportation in HCM City has huge potential but it has yet to be developed due to limited investment.
The city has around 975 km of waterway that can be used for transport. Around 700 km of rivers and canals are divided into 106 routes for municipal management.
The city is linked with the Mekong Delta by the Sai Gon River, Dong Nai River, and the Te and Doi canal systems, which are connected with Cho Dem – Ben Luc rivers and other areas of the country as well as with the international sea transport system. Seaports include Sai Gon, Long Tau, and Soai Rap.
"It is difficult to develop because the waterways have not been connected with road, railway and port systems," Dr. Pham Sanh, a transport expert, was quoted as saying in Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper.
In addition, bridges in the city are too low for some boats, and big ships cannot travel on shallow canals.
"Waterway transport hasn't been included in development plans for the city," he added.
Most commodities are transported by road.
"If waterway transport were developed, there would be less traffic congestion on roads and crowding at seaport," Sanh added.
By 2020, sea transport in HCM City would reach 200 million tonnes of cargo. To implement the Viet Nam Sea Strategy, the Prime Minister approved the HCM City's Transport Master Plan last year.
In the master plan, the city would develop public transport on a large scale, as well as multi-transportation means and logistics systems. To reach the goals, the city is moving seaports out of the downtown area and widening passage for bigger ships.
Experts have also called on the Ministry of Transport to devise a transport infrastructure strategy.
HCM City has 74 ports in four regions: Sai Gon, Tan Cang Cat Lai, Nha Be and Soai Rap.
The seaports can only receive 30,000 tonne-ships, and most of them are located inland, which lead to higher expenditures.
However, Hiep Phuoc seaport recently began receiving 54,000-tonne ships.
In the near future, Soai Rap River along with the Cai Mep-Thi Vai International ports will receive 100,000 tonne-ships at ports in Vung Tau, Dong Nai and HCM City, according to the HCM City's Transport Department.
By 2020, HCM City would have many new seaports, and narrow passages would be upgraded, according to the master plan. A seaport system in Cat Lai, Nha Be and Hiep Phuoc would also be operating by then.
HCM City also wants to encourage investors to pour money into infrastructure and waterway tourism.
This year was chosen as the year for waterway tourism in HCM City. — VNS