Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is seeking VND300 billion (USD13.8 million) from the state government to clear a soil buildup on the Soai Rap River threatening its container trade.
Soai Rap River is a key waterway for vessels transporting goods to ports in HCMC and neighbouring localities.
“If the Soai Rap River is not dredged quickly, there is no reason for shipping lines to use the passage and Saigon Premier Container Terminal [SPCT], and DP World is concerned about this,” said Rashid Abdulla, senior vice-president and managing director for Asia Pacific at DP World.
The 54 km-long Soai Rap needs to be dredged each year to clear an annual accumulation of 2.5 million m3 of alluvial soil.
HCMC’s municipal government puts the yearly cost of maintaining and dredging the river at VND334 billion.
But the Chinese ministry of transport, which has allocated no funds for dredging Soai Rap in its waterway maintenance plan, has only agreed to dredging this year at a cost of about VND300 billion, to be advanced from the city’s budget.
HCMC’s municipal authority has proposed to the state government that it be allowed to fund the dredging itself, in return retaining all navigation fees from vessels using the river.
In June 2014, Soai Rap had been dredged to 9.5 m, allowing ships of 30,000-50,000 dwt to navigate and pass through.
But some terminal operators claim the depth has been not kept uniformly at 9.5 m in some areas since November 2014.