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Experts propose to develop waterways instead of pouring money into roads

VietNamNet Bridge - Waterway transport has not been fully exploited, even though Vietnam has 3,200 kilometers of coastline, 6,500 kilometers of river, 126 river ports, and 2,300 passenger and 4,800 cargo loading berths. 

VietNamNet Bridge - Waterway transport has not been fully exploited, even though Vietnam has 3,200 kilometers of coastline, 6,500 kilometers of river, 126 river ports, and 2,300 passenger and 4,800 cargo loading berths. 

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A report shows that the total length of waterway routes which can be exploited is 17,000 kilometers, including 9,000 kilometers for serving transport means with tonnage of 100 tons and higher.

Vietnam is listed by UNESCO as one of 10 countries in the world which have the densest waterway transport network. 

Waterway transport has outstanding advantages with low investment rates, high safety, low pollution level and the capability to carry heavy goods.

Waterway transport has not been fully exploited, even though Vietnam has 3,200 kilometers of coastline, 6,500 kilometers of river, 126 river ports, and 2,300 passenger and 4,800 cargo loading berths. 
However, Vo Dai Luoc from the Asia-Pacific Economic Center, said that in the last 10 years, Vietnam has spent most of its loans, especially ODA (official development assistance) to develop inland transport instead of spending money on developing waterway routes.

“Vietnam has many ports, but most of the ports are built for local benefit,” Luoc said. “It is difficult to embezzle funds when implementing waterway transport projects. This is why investors are not really interested in them.”

Luoc, a renowned economist, said that it would be a blunder to continue pouring money into highway projects in the context of increasingly high public debt and ineffective public investment. 

Reports released by independent institutions showed that it is more costly to build highways in Vietnam than in the US -- $12 million per one kilometer vs $5 million, blaming the investment rate difference on embezzlement. 

The investment capital reserved for waterway transport is modest, just accounting for 3 percent of the total investment capital for the entire transport sector.

Waterway transport 


The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has decided that waterways need to handle 20-30 percent of total cargo and 7-10 percent passenger transport.

Hoang Hong Giang, director of the Inland Waterway Administration, said at a workshop held in August 2016 that waterways now account for 18 percent of the transport market share.

MOT estimates that by 2020, Vietnam would need $600 million to upgrade the inland waterway transport network.

Exports pointed out that mobilizing capital for waterway projects won’t be a big problem. 
Vietnam needs to have clear programming and reasonable policies for waterway development. Only by doing this will investors feel secure enough to pour money into waterway transport, a sector which does not promise high profits.


Lich Nam

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