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Mekong Delta needs $4bn for transport infrastructure

Released at: 23:40, 23/08/2016

Mekong Delta needs $4bn for transport infrastructure

Photo: Duc Anh

Institute under Transport Ministry calls for major investment in road and waterway projects.

by Luong Nhi

The Transport Development and Strategy Institute under the Ministry of Transport (MoT) has recently proposed mobilizing over VND91 trillion ($4 billion) to develop infrastructure and logistics systems in the Mekong Delta during the 2016-2020 period.

The Delta needs VND73 trillion ($3.2 billion) for 39 road transport projects, VND18 trillion ($806 million) for 23 sea transport projects, and VND11 trillion ($493 million) for 12 river transport projects. There are also three projects renewing the radar surveillance stations at Ca Mau Airport and upgrading Phu Quoc Airport, with estimated investment of VND1.7 trillion ($76.2 million).

About 31 per cent of the investment will come from the State budget while the remainder will come from ODA and private capital, according to the seminar on Mekong Delta's future development on August 22 in Can Tho city.

Mr. Nguyen Van The, Secretary of the Soc Trang Provincial Party Committee, recommended the government expand three important roads in the area: National Highway No. 60, Nam Song Hau Road, and the Quan Lo - Phung Hiep National Highway. He also suggested MoT research the development a deepwater port in Tran De district and a seaport on Con Dao Island for regional cargo trade purposes.

A deepwater port project on Hon Khoai Island in Ca Mau province is also expected to be listed among projects calling for investment in the 2018-2020 period by Mr. Lam Van Bi, Deputy Chairman of the Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee.

According to MoT, key road networks in the Delta have been built and are in line with the national development strategy in the region, including National Highways No. 60, 53, 54, 91, and 63. Their quality, however, is quite poor.

Transport in the Mekong Delta benefits from an extensive waterway network including rivers and channels, many of which can cater to large vessels. But investment in the development of waterways accounts for only 1.7 per cent of transport infrastructure spending, resulting in the advantages its waterways possess not being fully exploited.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue, said at the seminar that in order to reap potential the region’s transport infrastructure must be further developed. The Politburo has paid due attention to developing transport infrastructure and many large projects have been completed and contribute to regional development.

He added that although the government has invested in the Mekong Delta’s infrastructure there are more projects in need of investment. In fact, he said, more needs to be done than has been done already.

Though most of the Mekong Delta’s economy relies on the export of agricultural products, about 80 per cent must be transported to Ho Chi Minh City for export to foreign countries. The majority is transported by road rather than waterways, pushing up transport costs and cutting into export efficiency and profits.

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