Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has called for policies to take advantage of the potential for waterway transportation in the Mekong Delta, given increasingly overloaded infrastructure.
During a conference on regional logistics development organized in Dong Thap Province on Monday, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The prompted authorities and experts to come up with new policies and projects that leverage the potentialities for waterway transportation in the region.
Prior to 1975, most goods in the Mekong Delta were transported along local rivers, Minister The said, adding that this type of transportation had been neglected since the construction of new streets and bridges.
As traffic infrastructure on land becomes overloaded, it is necessary to consider water transport again, he said.
According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat, who chaired the gathering, logistics development in the region remains hindered, and he also urged specific measures and changes.
Some resolutions to the situation include improving and widening routes, allowing big ships to enter the Hau (Back) River, and establishing trans-shipment centers along the waterway, Vo Thanh Phong, general director of Vinalines Hau Giang Maritime Services Company, proposed.
Such transit hubs can be built in Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province, Phong added.
Agreeing, Tran Thanh Hai, an import-export official under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that policies should be created to encourage domestic and international carriers to bring their ships to local ports.
Tight cooperation should also be formed between companies and logistics businesses, Hai remarked.
|My Thoi Port in An giang Province only operates at 70 percent of its designed capacity. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
There are seven seaports, 31 harbors, and 57 inland ports spread across the Mekong Delta, yet 80 percent of regional goods are still transported by land to seaports in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
“It’s difficult for goods to be exported directly from local ports. The first step is important and necessary,” the official said.
The Mekong Delta has the potential for logistics development thanks to its vast river systems, Minister The asserted.
In order to realize the idea, suitable policies and mechanisms must be implemented, along with improved infrastructure, means of transport, and capacity, the official continued.
A credit fund is needed for transport businesses to afford modern fleets with high capacity and low cost, as well as other machines and equipment needed for the loading of shipments.
Such a fund with favorable interest rates is expected to be proposed to the central government for approval, Minister The said.
“We are willing to listen to the feedback and contributions of local businesses and shall ask for the most favorable mechanism to encourage the waterway transport of regional goods,” he added.
Shortened and simplified procedures will also play a crucial role, the minister said, adding that authorities should ensure rapid progress, allowing shipments to be unloaded as soon as ships arrive.