While millions of residents in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta eagerly await the opening of Can Tho Bridge, around 600 people making their livelihoods by operating ferries and motorbike taxis and vending food anxiously look for a new job.

The bridge, which spans over the Hau River linking Vinh Long with Can Tho, is expected to boost the development of the entire region by easing the flow of traffic on the national highway.

But its inauguration on the 24th of this month will mean the ferry system that carried people and vehicles for nearly 100 years since the time of the French colonialists will no longer be needed. It will mean the 303 people working for the Hau Giang Ferry Group will become redundant.

But Phan Quang Du, director of the ferry operator, told the English-language daily Viet Nam News that the group would be transformed into a company and take over the management and operation of the bridge, retaining around 200 of its staff.

Around 40 captains, pilots, and mechanics will be transferred along with their ferries to other places but Du said the destinations have not been identified yet. The group has three 12-16-tonne, seven 100-tonne, and eight 200-tonne ferries.

The remaining 77 people will be categorised into two groups – those who have worked for two years or less and those who are aged above 50.

The former will not have their contracts renewed and will be paid compensation as regulated by the law while the latter will go into early retirement and be paid pensions. The retirement age in Vietnam is 60 for men and 55 for women.

Of the 200 who will be retained, those having educational qualifications relevant to their jobs will receive quick training and start working soon. Others will be trained to meet the requirement of their jobs.

"Salaries are expected to be higher in the new company," Du said./.