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Ports in Mekong Delta have abundant loading capacity   2012-01-31 - SGTT

While the seaports in HCM City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau have been always overloaded, the ports in the west of the southern region can only operate at 25-50 percent of the designed capacity.

 

This means that 70 percent of the export products of the region have to be carried to the ports in HCM City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau on roads before they are shipped abroad, which costs goods owners 8-10 dollars per ton additionally.



Exploitation capacity limited

There are 26 seaports, big and smalls in the Mekong Delta, including the central port complex in Can Tho City. According to Dr Nguyen Huu Nguyen from the Southern Economics Research Center, the factor that decides the scale and the capacity of the seaport system in Mekong Delta is the ability to dredge the river to create passages.



The Cai Cui Port in Can Tho City was built with the hope of becoming the biggest port in the Mekong Delta, but the plan did not become realistic, because the ships with the tonnage of over 5000 tons find it hard to go through the Dinh An sea estuary, where there is regular sediment.



In the last many years, the Cai Cui Port has been only serving the export of sand and wood shavings, while farm produce need to be carried on roads to HCM City and Vung Tau, from which they are shipped abroad.



Two years later, in July 2009, the second phase of investment of the Cai Cui port was kicked off, under which a logistics storehouse system would be built, making the port get ready to receive 10,000 ton ships. Only in late 2009, did the project on opening the Quan Chanh Bo passage start.



However, according to Dr Vo Hung Dung, Director of the Can Tho Branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam would only see the efficiency of the Quang Chanh Bo passage after ten more years.



The passage planning for the port system in the south by 2020 was approved by the Ministry of Transport in August 2011. Dr Nguyen Huu Nguyen has expressed his worry that if there would be only one passage – Quan Chanh Bo – for the ships with the tonnage of 10,000-20,000 tons to dock the ports on Hau River, this means that in the next 10 years, only the ships with the tonnage of less than 10,000 tons can go through the Dinh An estuary. Meanwhile, other passages (Ganh Hao, Hon Chong and Vinh Dam) would only be capable to receive 5000 ton ships.



Meanwhile, Nguyen pointed out that the Cai Cui Port should have been able to receive 10,000 ton ships since 2007, if the Quan Chanh Bo canal project had been implemented on schedule. He stressed that the delay in the implementation of the Quan Chanh Bo project has caused a big waste of money.



Tran De port – old idea fits new circumstances

Right when scientists discuss the opening of the passage to the Hau River through the Quan Chanh Bo canal, some people suggested the “Tran De port” solution to the problem. However, the suggestion did not catch the attention, and the final solution that was chosen was the Quan Chanh Bo passage.



Nguyen Van Do from the HCM City Science, Technique and Sea-borne Economics Association said that it still needs to wait for the result from the opening of the Quan Chanh Bo passage.



However, he also said that Tran De proves to be the most feasible solution, and if dredging the Tran De passage well, it would be able to receive 30,000 ton ships.



According to Tran Sinh, a researcher, the volume of goods to go through the Mekong Delta would exceed 22 million tons per annum, and in order to expand goods exchange, it is necessary to have the ports capable to receive 50,000-100,000 ton ships.



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