|Deputy PM Trịnh Đình Dũng (third from right) urged the Transport Ministry to further study improved waterway connectivity in the Mekong Delta Region. — Photo chinhphu.vn|
TRÀ VINH — Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has asked the Transport Ministry to review transport planning in the Mekong Delta and seek better links among modes of transport in the region.
Dũng called for further connectivity among inland waterways, marine routes and inland ports when he visited Quan Chánh Bố Canal and Tắt Canal on Hậu River in Trà Vinh Province on Friday.
He asked the Transport Ministry to study and develop transport options on connecting Tiền River and Hậu River.
The 250-kilometre-long Tiền and 200-km-long Hậu, tributaries of the Mekong, are two major rivers in the delta, which is the country’s largest rice, fruit and seafood producer.
According to experts, a coastline that is more than 700km long as well as numerous canals and rivers that crisscross each other make the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta an ideal location to develop an efficient waterway transport system that will boost commerce and ease road traffic congestion.
Under a national plan on sea port system development, Hậu River is among key projects that will receive priority investment to be completed by 2020.
In 2007, the Transport Ministry approved the project on dredging and deepening the Hậu River to make it navigable for vessels of up to 10,000 tonnes. Work began in 2009 in Duyên Hải District, Trà Vinh Province.
The 46.5 km of deepened river consist of four parts – 12.1 km on the Hậu River, 19.2 km on the Quan Chánh Bố Canal, 8.2 km on the newly dredged Tắt Canal and 7 km of marine route. Other work includes dykes, signal systems, sheltering areas and three ferry stations.
By the end of 2011, around VNĐ1 trillion ($50 million) had been spent on the work when it came to a halt and could not be completed in 2013 as planned due to financial difficulties.
Following a two-year delay, work to dredge and deepen the Hậu River restarted after the National Assembly approved a VNĐ6 trillion (US$300 million) Government bond issue to fund it.
By April 2017, almost all of the work had been completed and operations begun. The Transport Ministry reported that of some items had not been completed due to landslides along Quan Chánh Bố Canal and local residents refusing to move from the project’s area because of disagreements over compensation.
Previously, since only vessels of between 4,000-5,000 tonnes can navigate the Hậu River, 80 per cent of cargo transported by sea to the Mekong Delta transits through ports in places like HCM City, Đồng Nai, and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu.
Deputy PM Dũng said that the project on dredging and deepening Hậu River passage was among efforts to help large vessels access inland ports, thus reducing transport costs.
It is expected that when the Hậu becomes navigable for large vessels, 50 per cent of cargo headed for the delta will come through it, reducing import costs and also boosting the competitiveness of the region’s exports.
Dũng emphasized the need for continued efforts in further connecting waterways in Trà Vinh Province and other Mekong Delta provinces as well.
“Problems such as funding shortages, land clearance, compensation should be reviewed and tackled to ensure benefits of State, investors and local residents,” he said. — VNS