LookAtVietnam – The Government has urged relevant agencies to hasten the preparation for two key projects in the Mekong Delta, one to dig a canal to receive large vessels from the East Sea into the country’s biggest rice basket and one to build the Duyen Hai thermo power center
Under the scheme prepared by Vinamarine, Tat Canal, which is planned to link the sea with Tra Vinh province, will be the artery for heavy-tonnage vessels of 20,000 DWT or more to and from the Mekong Delta.
Vinamarine head Vuong Dinh Lam said one of the biggest challenges for ports along the Hau river in 12 provinces and Can Tho city was that the main waterways at the Dinh An sea gate are blocked by thick layers of mud and soil deposits, hindering the passage of ships larger than 5,000 DWT.
To address the problem, Vinamarine plans to use a 20-kilometer section of the Quan Chanh Bo Canal in Tra Cu district, Tra Vinh province and dig a 9-kilometer canal to bypass the Dinh An waterway so that vessels can travel to the region’s main ports.
The plan will make waterway transport easier to all major ports in the Mekong Delta. The project owner said the canal project, proposed by Vietnam-based Portcoast Consultant, would take four to five years to develop at a total cost of VND5 trillion (US$280 million).
The maritime administration plans to open bidding for the main packages in August and start construction in the fourth quarter to meet the rising demand for goods transportation to and from the Mekong Delta, which is estimated at 21-22 tons of cargo per year including 450,000-500,000 TEUs a year by 2020.
Meanwhile, the Duyen Hai thermo power center, which is being prepared by EVN, also includes two dykes and a wharf for ships up to 30,000DWT, and will affect the waterway project of Vinamarine.
Deputy PM Hai asked the Transport Ministry to work with Vinamarine, EVN and relevant agencies to define the adverse effects of the two projects and reach a mutual agreement over solutions to carry out the two projects at the same time.
Duyen Hai thermo power center is part of the Duyen Hai power generation complex in Duyen Hai district. The power complex is expected to cover 641 hectares with three power plants, Duyen Hai 1, 2 and 3, with a total capacity of 4,400MW and a mammoth investment of US$5 billion.
The Mekong Delta’s waterways transport 12.5 million tons of goods a year. Due to poor sea and river transport infrastructure, 70% of the cargo volume has to be transported via bigger ports in HCM City, which in turn has driven up transportation costs and reduced the competitiveness of local farm products in domestic and international markets.