Two ports that were built early this year in Ho Chi Minh City remain unused in the absence of connecting roads which seem likely to take a few more years to be built. The VND327 billion (US$17.2 million) Phu Huu Port in District 9 has yet to begin operations since it is now accessible only by a road passing through a residential area that trucks are banned from using. A 2.6km connecting road remains on paper. The VND2.7 trillion ($142.1 million) Saigon - Hiep Phuoc Port in Nha Be District requires a 1.5km link road to be built.
Construction of the two roads will take two to three years, a Phu Huu Port official estimated.
They are expected to cost $24.2 million and $13.2 million respectively.
But it is not the first time such delays are occurring in Vietnam. Last year the deep-water Cai Mep Port in Ba Ria Vung Tau Province faced a delay of several months in beginning operations after construction of Road 965 linking it with Highway 51 was delayed.
Shoddy infrastructure is thought to have set Vietnamís back economy by years. Often bridges and overpasses are finished only to remain unused because access roads take years to build.
Following a report last week in Tuoi Tre, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai ordered the Ministry of Transport to coordinate with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to build the roads leading to the new ports.
Local and port authorities will hold a meeting soon to determine the source of funds for the roads, he required.
He also instructed city authorities to widen the two-lane Road 25B connecting Tan Cang Cat Lai Port with National Highway 1A, which has remained clogged by traffic for the last two years.
He ordered the ministry to approve a detailed master plan for sea ports in the three southern localities -- HCMC, Dong Nai and Ba Ria Vung Tau -- to facilitate construction projects there.