The Mekong Delta provinces will increase the combined capacity of their ports system from 15.7 million tonnes in 2010 to 28 million tonnes in 2020.

Under a Government plan, river ports and seaports in the Tien and Hau river basins will be upgraded while some new facilities will be built.

The Tien and Hau rivers are the main tributaries of the Mekong River .

In the Tien River basin , the upgrades will involve the Cao Lanh – Sa Dec Port in Dong Thap province, My Tho Port in Tien Giang province, Vinh Thai Port in Vinh Long province and Ham Luong Port in Ben Tre province. These, along with wharves along the Tien riverbanks, will be able to receive boats of 5,000DWT (Dead Weight Tonne).

Upgrades in the Hau River basin will involve the Cai Cui, Tra Noc and Can Tho ports in Can Tho city, My Thoi Port in An Giang province, Dai Ngai Port in Soc Trang province and Tra Cu Port in Tra Vinh Province, along with other ports on the river, so that they will be able to receive vessels of 5,000 to 10,000DWT.

Among several seaports that will be built in the Ca Mau peninsula and in the Gulf of Thailand are the Nam Can seaport in Ca Mau province, Hon Chong, Bai No, and Binh Tri in Kien Giang province, which can receive boats of 5,000 – 10,000DWT.

The cluster of ports in Can Tho city is considered a trading hub for the Mekong Delta region.

The Cai Cui Port in Can Tho city, the biggest one in the region, is undergoing an upgrade costing hundreds of billions of dong.

When the work is complete, Cai Cui Port would be able to receive 20,000DWT ships.

The Can Tho and Tra Noc ports in Can Tho city have also been upgraded. A quay with a length of 90 metres has been built, and warehouse area has been expanded by an additional 12,000 square metres, half of which will be used to store containers.

Transportation of goods via these two ports could help save 5 USD per tonne compared to the transport via ports in HCM City .

Can Tho city is also conducting research on building a floating port in the East Sea that can receive ships of 60,000DWT. It is expected to be completed by 2025.

However, all these plans to expand the port system could be rendered ineffective if the current trend of silting in the region's estuaries is not tackled.

Rivers and canals at the Dinh An Estuary as well as the Tien and Hau estauries have been silted heavily, making it difficult for ships with loading capacities of over 3,000 tonnes to travel in and out of the area.

In the 30km Dinh An canal, where the traffic is the busiest, the depth is just three metres. Every year, the city authority spends about 3-14 billion VND to dredge the canal, but it is silted again in a few months.

To cope with this, the Ministry of Transport has approved the building of a new canal to connect to Quan Chanh Bo canal in Tra Vinh province's Tra Cu district. With the new canal that runs to the East Sea , boats will no longer need to go through Dinh An.

Both the new canal and Quan Chanh Bo canal will be dredged to have a depth of 6.5 – 8.5 metres./.