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Saigon Transport Department Wants $900m for Waterway Development

Water-based public transportation is still considerably underdeveloped for a city with an extensive network of water bodies like Saigon.

VnExpress reports that Saigon's Department of Transport wants VND21 trillion (US$906 million) to improve waterway transport in the city over the next three decades.

At least VND4 trillion will be needed to transform unused stretches of canals and rivers into traffic routes and port facilities, while annual maintenance for these projects would run at VND570 billion per year, or VND17 trillion over a span of 30 years.

Under the department's plan, which is sketched out in very broad strokes, from 2021 to 2030, Saigon's waterway network will be developed in three general directions, with four routes linking downtown with Hiep Phuoc Port in Nha Be District and two routes connecting eastern districts with Cat Lai Port in District 2.

Further routes would link Saigon with Binh Duong and Dong Nai, as well as Mekong Delta provinces to the southwest. It is not clear whether these routes would be used for passengers or cargo, or both.

Bui Hoa An, deputy director of the transport department, told the news source that up until 2050, priority needs to be placed on six ports connecting eastern Saigon with Dong Nai, as well the routes to Hiep Phuoc Port.

The municipal government has asked the department to share its plan with other official agencies so that it can be incorporated into the metropolis' broader transport development agenda. The agency has also been tasked with studying ways to improve waterway connectivity to Cu Chi and Binh Chanh districts.

VnExpress adds that over the last five years, only VND1.5 trillion has been spent on inland waterway infrastructure, just 5.4% of the amount spent on road projects.

[Photo via Flickr user Shaman Grames]