Soai Rap River dredging to enhance City's port system

Dredging of Soai Rap River in Ho Chi Minh City will help create a shorter route for vessels coming into Hiep Phuoc Port area in Nha Be District, and will also prove to be a significant turning point in the development of the City’s port system.

A view of Saigon Premier Container Terminal--the start point of the dredging project in Soai Rap River (Photo: SGGP)

HCMC has scheduled the second phase of the dredging project of the Soai Rap River to begin on November 24.

One hundred years ago, the port began taking shape on the Saigon River, greatly contributing to the development of the City. Vessels had only one route to move from the sea to Saigon Port on Long Tau River.

Initially, constructors of Saigon Port had planned to use Soai Rap River as the main entry route for vessels coming in from the sea to enter the Port area. However, many shallow spots in the Soai Rap River deterred them and they chose Long Tau River instead.

Dredging of Soai Rap River will allow it to be the main entry route for vessels to move into the new Hiep Phuoc Port in Nha Be District and also open a new phase in the development of the port system in HCMC.

Hiep Phuoc Port was constructed in Nha Be District to replace Saigon Port area, which is located too close to the center of HCMC and is now causing much environmental pollution and traffic congestion.

According to the management board of the Soai Rap River dredging project, a 54km section starting from Saigon Premier Container Terminal and ending at the sea edge will be dredged for vessels to move in freely.

The width of the dredged route will be from 120-160m and the depth will be 11.5m, enough to allow vessels of 50,000-70,000 tons to pass  through. Currently the Long Tau River can receive vessels of 30,000 tons only.

The Soai Rap River route will cut the distance shorter from the sea to Hiep Phuoc Port by 40km from the present route on Long Tau River.

Le Hoang Minh, director of the project, said that dredging will be complete in 14 months at a cost of euro 76 million (US$98.6 million), provided by a preferential loan from Belgium.

The Vietnam Seaport Association said that at present, commodities from the Mekong Delta are being transported through Nuoc Man Canal to Soai Rap River and to Saigon Port where they are loaded onto vessels.

When the Soai Rap River route is dredged, cargo will be transported straight to Hiep Phuoc Port, reducing the distance and saving costs.

Tran The Ky, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said that the current port on Saigon River has contributed a great deal to the development of the City. However it has also caused environmental pollution and traffic congestion.

Together with Cai Mep-Thi Vai route in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, the Soai Rap River route will turn the southern region into a key economic zone and an important trading port in Asia and for the world.

The Transport Department has submitted to the HCMC People’s Committee a project to build a road system for better access to Hiep Phuoc Port. Construction of the roads will be done simultaneously with the Soai Rap River dredging project.

By Nguyen Khoa – Translated by Hai Mien

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