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Ho Chi Minh City eyes $380mln of loans for waterway expansion
By Thanh Nien News -
 A file photo of a cargo ship moving through Soai Rap waterway in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Saigon Times Online
Ho Chi Minh City has asked for the central government's help in taking out loans worth around US$380 million for a major dredging program to deepen one of its key waterways, local media reported Monday.
The Soai Rap, a tributary of the Saigon River, will be able to handle ships of more than 50,000 DWT, when the expansion project is finished, the municipal authority was quoted as saying in its recent letter to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
It was the second time over the past three months the city authority sought to pump more money into the river, which links Hiep Phuoc Seaport in District 9 to major transport routes via the East Sea.
In August, it asked the government's permission to invest VND300 billion ($13.23 million) for a dredging and maintenance program, saying the river has been affected by rapid sedimentation.
The 54-kilometer long waterway was first dredged in November 2012 at a cost of nearly VND2.8 trillion ($123.51 million), of which 77 percent was funded by the Belgian government's official development assistance loans, news website VnExpress reported.
Since the project was finished in June last year, Soai Rap has been able to handle ships of up to 50,000 DWT.
The waterway is expected to see a cargo throughput of 120-150 million tons over the next 10 years, bringing in revenues of VND580-720.4 trillion ($25.58-31.77 billion), according to the website.