The Ministry of Transport has launched a 6,600 billion VND (314 million USD) canal project to allow ships of up to 10,000 tonnes to access all ports along the Hau river.

When completed, the Quan Chanh Bo canal will become an important part of the waterway network in the Mekong Delta, helping reduce transport costs for exports, particularly farm produces and aquatic products from the region.

The Mekong Delta region is actively developing water-based transport as well as seaports in a bid to lower transport costs and ease pressure on land routes linking it with Ho Chi Minh City.

Work is well underway on a waterway connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Kien Giang province through Long An, Tien Giang, Dong Thap and An Giang provinces, with the aim of completing it in 2015.

Just one month ago, the transport ministry started construction of another route using the Cho Gao canal in Tien Giang province, while land clearance is being implemented for another route connecting Bac Lieu and Soc Trang provinces with Ho Chi Minh City.

The three waterway routes together with the Quan Chanh Bo canal are expected to become operation in the next two or three years, forming an efficient transport network for the Mekong Delta.

Furthermore, from now until 2016, the transport ministry will continue with its projects to upgrade Can Tho river port so that it can handle 650,000 tonnes of cargo each year and receive vessels of up to 10,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, construction work on four more wharves in Cai Cui river port, which are designed to handle 2.5 million tonnes of cargo every year, is well underway.

The Mekong Delta region comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million. It is the largest granary and the major aquaculture development region of the country.-VNA