Vietnam: Dredger “Uilenspiegel” Arrives at Saigon Port
Ho Chi Minh City’s Saigon Port on March 31 welcomed the arrival of the dredger Uilenspiegel, which will help speed up the second phase of a Belgian-funded project to increase the depth of the Soai Rap River to accommodate larger ships.
The ship will dredge 54 kilometres of the Soai Rap River , creating a shorter route for vessels coming from the sea into Hiep Phuoc port area in Nha Be district.
The ship is operated under a contract signed between the Soai Rap River Dredging Investment and the Belgium-based Dredging International NV Company.
In addition to the Uilenspiegel, about 30 smaller ships are also being used to dredge the river.
The project’s second phase is expected to be finished by April next year.
At least 54 kilometres of water will be dredged, increasing the river’s depth to 11.5 metres, according to the project board.
Originally, the river had a depth of five to six metres, but in the first phase (2009-10) of the project, the river was dredged to a depth of 9.5 metres, allowing vessels of 40,000-50,000DWT to traverse it.
After the second phase, the Hiep Phuoc port in HCM City ’s Nha Be district will be able to receive larger ships with a loading capacity of 50,000-70,000DWT.
Of the investment of nearly 2.8 trillion VND (134 million USD), 2.2 trillion VND (105 million USD) comes from Belgian Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and the rest from the city budget.
Nguyen Van Cong, Deputy Minister of Transport, said the project would help increase connectivity among seaports and boost logistics and export services in HCM City .
A representative from the Vietnam Seaports Association said dredging the Soai Rap River will help to reduce transport costs and make Vietnamese products more competitive.
The use of the Soai Rap River , together with Cai Mep – Thi Vai River in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, is expected to help the southern economic zone become one of the country’s most important zones and Hiep Phuoc port one of the major ports in the region.
Source: VNA, April 2, 2013