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By Vietnam News - 19/05/2005

Transport ministry to develop Can Tho

HCM CITY - The transport ministry and experts from international consultancy companies held a meeting in HCM City last weekend to discuss the expansion of the Can Tho Port, as part of a master plan that would make it the biggest port in the Mekong Delta.

Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh said the Can Tho Port is presently able to handle ships of only 3,000-5,000 DWT, because the Dinh An waterway, which joins the Can Tho Port to the sea, is frequently clogged with silt deposits.

Binh said the meeting delegates had agreed upon a plan to build a passage connected to the Quan Chanh Bo Canal, which flows to the East Sea from Tra Vinh Province.

The new access channel would enable Can Tho Port to accommodate vessels of up to 20,000 DWT.

Four consultancy firms including the Canadian SNS-Lavalin International, the Dutch groups Royal Haskoning and Delft Hydraulics, and the Vietnamese Portcoast worked on the plan, the execution of which would cost US$150 million and take four years to complete.

In early March, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai established a team of relevant agencies to study the port's capacity to accommodate larger vessels.

The study team said the Mekong Delta's export growth has been hindered by rapid sediment deposits in the Dinh An waterway, preventing larger ships from accessing the Can Tho Port.

The delta produces up to seven million tonnes of commercial goods each year, but its ports can only handle about one fifth of this freight since the shallow Dinh An estuary is the only waterway linking them with the sea.

Tran Tan Phuc, director of the Portcoast Consultant Corporation, said that dredging the Dinh An waterway was only a temporary solution, as silt deposits built up quickly.

Binh said the Transport Ministry would soon submit a feasibility study on the plan to the Prime Minister for approval. He hoped that work could start next year and be completed by 2010.

Under the plan, the Quan Chanh Bo Canal would be extended by 10km. Two dykes at a total length of 3.5km would also be built to prevent the encroachment of sand and silt deposits.

The feasibility study, worth $1 million, was funded by the World Bank.- VNS.



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