Saturday,  Jun 23, 2018,07:45 (GMT+7) 0 0
First BOT waterway project in HCMC lags far behind schedule
Le Anh
Wednesday,  Feb 7, 2018,17:38 (GMT+7)

First BOT waterway project in HCMC lags far behind schedule

Le Anh

Only some concrete supports of the Binh Loi rail bridge project have been built - PHOTO: LE ANH

HCMC – A project to build Binh Loi rail bridge and upgrade the Saigon River section from Binh Loi Bridge in HCMC to Ben Suc Port in Binh Duong Province has been moving at a snail’s pace and will by no means be completed in August as scheduled.

The project, whose aim is to upgrade the waterway to allow bigger vessels to navigate, is implemented under build-operate-transfer (BOT) format at a cost of VND1.3 trillion. Work commenced on the project in April 2015, but the key components, namely building a new Binh Loi rail bridge with higher clearance to allow for vessels to navigate, and dredging and clearing the water passage, have barely got going.

As of this Monday, only 32 out of 48 concrete supports had been completed in the third package to build the rail bridge, according to a report by BOT Binh Loi Co Ltd. The contractor for package No. 4 to manufacture, transport and install steel girders has only been chosen lately while the tenth package to dredge the Saigon River has not been implemented.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong on Monday inspected the progress of the project and found that all phases including administrative procedures, technical design, contractor selection, construction and site clearance are implemented slowly.

The slow progress was blamed on the investor. The deputy minister required that the investor improve its project management capacity right in this month, otherwise the Ministry of Transport would reconsider the investor’s capability and might choose another one.

As for site clearance, Dong asked competent agencies under the ministry to coordinate with authorities of Binh Thanh District to relocate seven remaining households and remove two electric poles.

With a total length of 1.3 kilometers, including approach roads, Binh Loi railway bridge will have a vertical clearance of seven meters, up from the current 1.5 meters. It will strengthen the capacity of train services, facilitate waterway transport between HCMC and neighboring Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces.

Meanwhile, the project to upgrade the 71-kilometer Saigon River section is aimed at facilitating waterborne transport in the Southeast region.

The project requires an investment of VND1.3 trillion including VND172 billion in equity from the investor, VND156.3 billion from the HCMC government budget used for site clearance and resettlement, VND300 billion as interest-free loans offered by Binh Duong Province and the remaining VND674.4 billion borrowed from banks.

The investor will recover capital by collecting fees from ships navigating on the dredged section. Once complete, the project will help large vessels travel to and from ports along the Saigon River.

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