Vietnam to invest over $134 mil to dredge river, improve port

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This month Ho Chi Minh City transport authorities will begin work on a nearly VND2.8 trillion (US$134.3 million) river-dredging project aimed at allowing one of its ports to receive bigger boats.

The project will dredge 54 kilometers of Soai Rap, a tributary of the Saigon River, to a depth of 9.5 meters to make room for boats of up to 50,000 tons at the Hiep Phuoc port complex in Nha Be District in the outskirts of the city, news website VnExpress reported Thursday.

Work is expected to take 14 months. Nearly $90 million of the investment will come from Belgium's official development assistance and the rest from the city budget.

The initial investor, the Tan Thuan industry development company, has withdrawn from the project, saying it was unable to deploy funds.

More investment is expected to put into the project, before the river is dredged to a depth of 12-meters for boats of up to 70,000 tons.

The project also aims to reduce the journey for boats entering the city and divert them to the outskirts.

Tat Thanh Cang, director of the city transport development, said at a recent meeting with city finance and budget officials that the dredging should be carried out concurrently with the building of a road designed to give container trucks access to the port. Otherwise, the big boats would be coming for nothing.

Cang cited the example at Phu Huu Port in District 9 in the outskirts, which cost hundreds of billions of dongs but has been left for no use since July 2010 as there's no proper road to it yet.

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