An Australian firm has unveiled a plan to build a 3.5 billion USD deep-water seaport on Hon Khoai Island, roughly 15km off the southwest coast of Nam Can District in the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

The Ca Mau People's Committee has submitted a proposal to build the port to the government, and is awaiting official approval pending the project's inclusion into the national zoning plan for ports.

Meanwhile, Australia-based N&M Commodities Pty Ltd is completing necessary administrative procedures for going ahead with the project.

According to Ca Mau Province's Department of Planning and Investment, the 320 ha deep-water port will have 12 transshipment berths. Six of these will be used for loading coal, two for transporting containers, two for transporting oil, and the rest for other commodities.

The berths will be deep enough to receive vessels of 250,000 DWT.

The total investment for the project is estimated at 2.9 billion USD, of which 1.1 billion USD will be used for building facilities and the rest for developing infrastructure. The port's construction is expected to begin at the end of 2016.

However, on its website, the Australian company says the project will cost 3.5 billion USD. "The Mega Port project, the biggest ever infrastructure project between Australia and Vietnam , is set to break many records in logistical efficiency, capacity, security and most of all sustainability," the company says.

Once completed, the Hon Khoai Seaport is expected to become the gateway to the Mekong Delta and HCM City. It will also become one of two leading ports in Vietnam for industrial centres in the region.

With piers to bridge the port with the mainland in Ca Mau's Nam Can District, a link will be established with the transnational R10 route that runs through Cambodia , Thailand and Myanmar.

Mai Huu Chinh, director of Ca Mau Province's Department of Planning and Investment, said the project has not been approved officially, and is waiting to be included in the national plan for developing Vietnam's port system.

In response to Ca Mau's proposal, the Prime Minister has directed the Ministries of Transport and Industry and Trade to consider including Hon Khoai Port in the country's port system.

The Mega Port Multi Cargo Facility is expected to become a commodity transport hub that supports logistics development in the Mekong Delta and helps reduce traffic burden in HCM City.

It is also designed to become a wholesale market for coal by importing the commodity via a designated port and wharves to serve thermal power plants in the Mekong Delta.

The potato-shaped island has an area of 561 ha and off-shore water depth of between five to 27 metres, which is considered suitable for building deep-water seaports.

The southernmost province is one of the four provinces belonging to an important economic zone in the Mekong Delta.-VNA