Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has released a decision approving waterway infrastructure policies expected to boost the sector's growth.
|Waterway transport on the Hau River in Can Tho City. A recent PM-decision on waterway infrastructure policies is expected to boost the sector's growth. (Photo: VNA/VNS)|
Domestic waterway transportation plays a vital role in transporting goods and passengers across Viet Nam. It creates millions of jobs, but the Ministry of Transport said Government support for the sector remained modest compared with other types of transportation.
PM Dung's decision creates a number of favourable policies in the waterway sector, promoting investment in infrastructure and transportation. One would exempt high-speed passenger waterway vehicles and container waterway vehicles from registration fees.
People's committees will also offer favourable interest rates to investors for waterway transport vehicles with capacities of more than 1,500 tonnes or weighing more than 800 tonnes.
The interest rates will also be expanded to include new waterway vehicles used for transporting passengers to and from areas with economic difficulties or few types of transportation.
Lower fare rates will also be applied to certain groups of people travelling by public waterway transport, including people with disabilities, the elderly and students. Children below 6 can travel in these vehicles for free, under the decision.
The Government will provide free training to waterway transport vehicle drivers in border communes and those with economic difficulties.
Pham Minh Nghia, chairman of the Viet Nam Inland Waterway Transportation Association, said waterway vehicles transported 66 per cent of goods and 32 per cent of passengers in the Mekong Delta every year.
"Waterway transportation accounts for a considerable amount compared with road transportation," Nghia said. "But investment in road transportation is way more than that in waterway transportation."
He cited that between 2004 and 2014, investment in waterway transportation accounted for only 2 per cent of the transport sector.
According to the Viet Nam Maritime Administration, the amount of goods transported via sea ports in the Mekong Delta in 2013 was 7.7 million tonnes, while the total amount transported through sea ports across Viet Nam was 326 million. About 80 per cent of goods are transported to the southwest by road.
River bus route
HCM City has planned to build two inland waterway routes at a cost of VND124.5 billion (US$5.5 million).
The projects, which were recently presented to the municipal People's Committee for approval, aim to meet local travel demand, ease road congestion and promote waterway tourism.
The first route will run for 10.8km from Bach Dang Wharf through the Sai Gon River and the Thanh Da Channel to a wharf on Binh Quoi River in Thu Duc District.
The second, about 10.3km long, will also start from the Bach Dang Wharf. It'll pass through the Sai Gon River to Lo Gom Wharf in District 6.