Under the mammoth three-phase dredging plan, the riverbed will be dredged to a final depth of 12 meters to allow for navigation of vessels of up to 70,000 tons, enabling the port complex to have annual throughput of 250 million tons of goods after 2015.
In the first phase this year and next, the river will be dredged to a depth of 9.5 meters to allow for 30,000 to 50,000-ton ships, raising the port complex's handling capacity to 140 million tons per year. The second phase in 2012-2013 aims to create a passage of 12 meters deep for vessels of 50,000 to 70,000 ton to navigate into Hiep Phuoc port complex.
A survey of IPC during the past 15 years shows that the river can be dredged to a stable depth of at least 12 meters to make a safe passage for container ships of between 4,000 and 6,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU), said IPC's general director Phan Hong Quan.
The Ministry of Construction and HCMC authorities have assigned IPC as investor of the project and PortCoast Consultant Corporation as consultant.
Anil Wats, vice chairman of DP World as one investor of Hiep Phuoc port complex, attached great importance to the dredging project, saying it would help promote transportation and economic activities between HCMC and neighboring localities.
DP World is one of the leading marine terminal operators in the world and the investor of the complex's Saigon Premier Container Terminal estimated to put into operation in the fourth quarter.
Wats also suggested the Government and HCMC authorities develop infrastructure such as the North-South Highway and Phu My Bridge to connect Hiep Phuoc complex with HCMC and its industrial hinterland.
The dredging of the Soai Rap River will expand maritime channel leading to the city and reduced traffic jams caused by trucks traveling in and out the ports. The work is also expected to ease congestion on the Long Tau River connecting to the East Sea.
The 40-kilometer Soai Rap River is a branch of the Dong Nai-Saigon river system pouring into the East Sea through HCMC, Long An, and Tien Giang Province.