A file photo of the construction site of Van Phong Port whose work has been suspended for six years. Photo: Hien Luong
Vietnam has allowed a local investor to take over and restart a troubled port project near the central town of Nha Trang, six years after state-owned shipping giant Vinalines called it quits due to financial problems, local media reported on Monday.
In the first stage of the project, Nha Trang Port JSC will spend VND417 billion (US$18.71 million) building two terminals of the North Van Phong project.
The facilities in the strategically located Van Phong Bay will be able to receive medium to large ships, news website Dau Tu said.
After 2020, the port will be expanded to host another two terminals which can handle vessels of up to 15,000 TEUs, or a total of 1-1.5 million TEUs a year, it said.
Nha Trang Port JSC plans to raise more than half of the projected cost through either loans or selling shares, according to the news website.
The company, which operates a tourist port in the famous beach town Nha Trang, is a partly-private business, with real estate conglomerate Vingroup owning a nearly 35 percent stake.
Originally known as Van Phong International Transshipment Port, this was Vietnam's biggest port project when it was approved in 2007.
Work started in October 2009, but Vinalines called it off nearly one year after, saying it needed to change the design. The problem is the changes increased the cost projection three folds to over VND9 trillion ($403.98 million), which presumably led to the prolonged delay since.
The government officially suspended the project in September 2012.