In a significant milestone, DP World has welcomed the very first vessel to navigate the new channel on the Soai Rap River to its Saigon Premier Container Terminal (SPCT) in Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam.
The MSC vessel Xutra Bhum, with a nominal TEU (twenty foot equivalent container unit) capacity of 2378 and dwt of 30,832, sailed up the 54km long channel to a special ceremony to mark the historic occasion.
The new Soai Rap channel makes SPCT the deepest Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC) port, and brings considerable benefits to customers, including halving steaming time to two hours, saving on pilotage and bunker fuel. With a draft of 9.5 metres, and a tidal rise of up to 3.4 metres, the channel doubles the size of vessels that can access SPCT, allowing Panamax vessels to safely berth just 15km from the city.
SPCT can now handle vessels of 50,000 dwt, and vessels with 5000 TEU capacity are expected to start using the channel in coming weeks. There are also no night time restrictions.
DP World Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific region, Rashid Abdulla, said: “The new channel opens new opportunities for Vietnam, more efficiently connecting Hồ Chí Minh City to global markets, which will bring long term benefits to the country and to the community.”
SPCT CEO, William Khoury, said: “The opening of the channel is a very important step for SPCT and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Soai Rap Program Management unit (SRPM) for their excellent efforts in delivering this project, which will boost the logistics sector and create new job opportunities for local people.”
Hồ Chí Minh City Department of Transport Director, Tat Thanh Cang, said: “The dredging of the Soai Rap channel is one of the city’s highest priorities. It is a project that will benefit the entire south of Vietnam and help develop the surrounding areas. We thank DP World and SPCT for their commitment to HCMC and look forward to their continued success.”
MSC Vietnam General Director, Boris Cohen, said: “The new Soai Rap channel will make an enormous difference to us and to our customers, allowing cargo to be moved more efficiently, saving both time and money. MSC is proud to be the first shipping line navigating this important new channel.”
The DP World-operated container terminal, which is located along the western shore of the Soai Rap River on 23 hectares in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park, is a state of the art facility which began operations in October 2009.
Press Release, April 21, 2014