New Canal to link Mekong Delta with East Sea

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Dec. 1 – The Vietnam Maritime Administration is planning to build a nine-kilometer canal and dredge up an existing one to link Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

The plan also plans to create a 40 kilometer waterway that will link to the East Sea.In Vinh Long Province, a new canal will be dug and a 19 kilometer Quan Chanh Bo canal deepened.

The new canal will have the capacity for 10,000-20,000 DWT ships at a cost of VND3.15 trillion. Ships will be able to enter the Hau River in Can Tho and pass by Quan Chanh Bo and the new canal to reach the sea, reports Thanh Nien Daily.

Currently, the Dinh An River, which connects to the Can Tho and other ports along the Hau River with the East Sea, has the capacity of less than 5,000 DWT and is hampered by silting during most of the year.

This has led to 70 percent of the Mekong Delta’s 17 million tons of export and import products a year to be channeled by road to ports in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Mekong Delta is the base for the country's biggest exporters of rice, agricultural produce and seafood. According to Thanh Nien Daily, exporters say that moving a container of goods from Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh city can cost up to US$200. This doubles as the expense of transporting goods to Singapore.

Luu Phuoc Luong, deputy director of a government committee for developing the southwestern region, said the new route “will have a decisive impact on the social and economic development of the Mekong Delta.”

Once completed, the waterways should aid in the transport of up to 22 million tons and 500,000 TEU of cargo from and to the 12 delta provinces and Can Tho City annually beginning 2010 and would carry 60 percent of all the cargo transported by 2030.