Vessels of 20,000 DWT could sail to Cai Cui Port on the Hau River to load and upload cargo from next year after a project to dredge a navigational passage to the port in Can Tho City is complete.
Tran Khanh Hoang, deputy general director of marketing at Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP), said the project is scheduled for completion early next year.
Hoang told the Daily on the sidelines of a conference on a development strategy for the logistics system in the Mekong Delta that the project will facilitate 20,000-DWT vessels to travel to and from Cai Cui Port, the biggest port in the Mekong Delta.
Currently, the port on the Hau River section in Can Tho City can handle 5,000-DWT vessels.
The cost of the project has been revised up to VND9.78 trillion (US$442 million) from the previous VND5 trillion. The project comprises dredging a 46.5-kilometer passage to Cai Cui Port, and building a 2.4-kilometer breakwater and a river embankment near the port and marine safety facilities.
As bigger vessels can enter the port, enterprises in the Mekong Delta hope that they can have their agro-aquatic products shipped directly to foreign markets instead of going through Cat Lai Port in HCMC and the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Hoang said it is possible for the Mekong Delta to ship products to Asian markets via Cai Cui but shipments to other foreign markets will require much larger vessels.
“Vessels of 10,000-20,000 DWT are still small compared to container ships of up to 100,000 DWT that transport cargo on global sea lanes. The larger the vessel is, the lower transport cost exporters have to pay,” Hoang said.
Hoang suggested choosing Cai Cui as the port hub in the Mekong Delta region and developing passages to transport cargo from small ports in the region to Cai Cui before goods are shipped to ports in HCMC and Ba Ria-Vung Tau for export to foreign markets.
Data compiled by port design and consulting firm Portcoast showed cargo throughput at ports in the Mekong Delta in the first eight months totaled nearly seven million tons, accounting for 2.5% of the country’s total. The volume is forecast to reach some 10 million tons this year, up from 9.4 tons last year.Ports in the Mekong Delta are expected to handle 47.6-62.5 million tons in 2020 and 115.9-200 million tons in 2030.