A host of difficulties are hampering Saigon Port's removal plan. Saigon Port's
According to Saigon Port Authority's (SPA) general director Le Cong Minh, the firm's biggest difficulty upon removal was where to source capital for building a new port.
To become financially viable for building the new port, the firm had to change the usage function of the existing port's land, Minh said. He added that the land transfer plan was not ratified by Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, so SPA could not draw an investment plan to source investment for the new port project.
"Decision 46/2010/QD-TTg allows removing port businesses to take loans for building new ports. However, taking on costly loans will drive up investment expenses and badly affect project's efficiency," Minh added.
Another hindrance was the lack of roads.
As planned, the Saigon-Hiep Phuoc port project's first phase with a handling capacity of 8.5 million tonnes per year at a total investment of over VND3 trillion ($145 million) is about to be finalised and would be pressed into service in late 2011.
The proposed D3 road connecting Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park (IP) in Ho Chi Minh City's Nha Be district to Saigon-Hiep Phuoc port has yet to be built. The road is developed by Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Company (IPC) which then trusted the task to Hiep Phuoc IP Joint Stock Company (HIPC) for the project's implementation.
Both IPC and HIPC, however, were yet to complete the project's design and could only compensate 40 per cent of the proposed area. Sourcing the project's investment capital remains a dilemma to developers also.
Besides, the Soai Rap channel leading to Hiep Phuoc port is shallow, hindering the port from receiving big ships.
"The estimated expense for dredging Soai Rap channel is enormous and Ho Chi Minh City authorities and relevant bodies still fail to source investment hindering ports in Hiep Phuoc from receiving big ships," Minh said.
Members of the Vietnam Seaport Association in Ho Chi Minh City said that as a port city, Ho Chi Minh City needed to outline and enact specific management mechanism to regulate the operation of Hiep Phuoc port complex to sharpen its competitiveness relative to other ports in the area.
Saigon Port is one of the leading ports in Vietnam with a cargo handling capacity of around 12 million tonnes per year.