The mega-project, estimated to cost VND2.2 trillion (US$133.3 million), is awaiting the city People’s Committee’s final approval.
Of the amount, more than half or VND1,5 trillion ($88.1 million) will be devoted to developing the waterway system and the remainder to the port and marina network.
Capital for the project is expected to be raised from multiple sources, including the city budget and ODA funds as well as contributions from the business community and other sources.
The makeover will leave HCM City with 88 inland waterway routes with a total length of 574km. This includes 26 new routes totalling 138.1km in length.
The city Department of Transport said once there was a connection between local inland waterway routes with specialised riverways, national inland waterways and the city’s sea routes, a complete waterway transport network would be established.
This would ultimately link up different areas of the city and the city with nearby provinces.
The three-phase scheme would facilitate waterway transport from HCM City to the Mekong Delta provinces through a network of rivers and canals, to neighbouring Dong Nai Province through Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers, and to other provinces northwest of the city to the Sai Gon River-Tra Creek-Thay Cai Canal-Vam Co Dong River area.
The Transport Department said top priorities would be to remove residents living along Thanh Da Canal in Binh Thanh District, and Te and Doi canals in District 8; clear up the Rach Chiec waterway linking Sai Gon River and Dong Nai River; build an inner and outer beltway; and dredge a shortcut waterway linking the Mekong Delta with Vung Tau-Thi Vai area.
Also on the priority list will be the upgrading and placing into service a number of inland waterway routes that link the city's downtown with the new seaport complex in the Hiep Phuoc-Nha Be area.
Bach Dang historic marina will be turned into a tourist spot and part of Sai Gon Port, which mainly handles cargo shipment, will be converted into an inter-provincial and international passenger port.
The Nhon Duc new river port will also be built, as well as other stopovers for boats across the city.