The Master Plan for the Mekong Delta region designed for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, is focused on infrastructure development, especially for transport, energy, clean water supply, irrigation, and social infrastructure in the region, which includes Can Tho city and 12 provinces.
Under the plan, the network of expressways in the region will have a total length of 1,166 km by 2030, and will need serious investment, given that expressways in the region only account for 7% across the country at present.
Economists said the region’s growth rate remained low, while its potential and natural advantages have not been fully exploited and connections with Ho Chi Minh City and the Southeast region remain limited.
The Government is directing the Ministry of Transport to carry out an investment plan for construction of expressways in the Mekong Delta region.
In the 2021-2025 period, construction on the My Thuan – Can Tho expressway and My Thuan 2 bridge will be completed, while that on the Can Tho – Ca Mau expressway will be basically completed.
An additional 460km of expressways are expected to be completed by 2025, and 637km more in the 2026-2030 period.
At a conference to announce the Master Plan and investment promotion programme for the Mekong Delta in 2021-2030 in late June, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that to continue prioritising investment for the region, the National Assembly Standing Committee and the Prime Minister had issued principles and criteria for allocation of public investment from the State budget for the 2021-2025 period, which stipulate that the Mekong Delta region receives higher priority than other regions.
The total investment for the Mekong Delta region, sourced from the State budget, is expected to be about 460 trillion VND (19.27 billion USD) in the 2021-2025 period. Accordingly, this region will have to complete a number of key projects such as Trung Luong – My Thuan – Can Tho, Can Tho – Ca Mau, and Chau Doc – Can Tho – Soc Trang expressways; national highways; the entire coastal route; some important roads connected to Ho Chi Minh City, the Southeastern region and airports.
Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said that transport remains a big bottleneck for the region. Although the Party and State have given priority to investment in the region, its transport system has failed to meet expectations.
“We determine that expressways must be connected to boost economic development, so the end point of this expressway system connects to Tran De port. With the expressway system connecting with Tran De port, along with Can Tho international airport, the Mekong Delta will become a favourable and attractive destination to investors, and have enough potential and conditions for breakthrough development,” Minister The emphasised.
Along with the development of expressways, experts also stressed the need to soon form a high-speed railway connecting Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam’s largest economic hub – with the Mekong Delta, thereby improving freight transport capacity in the region.
Economist Tran Du Lich said that it is necessary to focus on building the expressway system from An Giang’s Chau Doc, Ca Mau, Kien Giang to Can Tho city to form an “economic hub”, then connecting it with Ho Chi Minh City by a rail system.
This is a strategic and extremely important road for the development of the Mekong Delta, he stressed.
Currently, the Ministry of Transport is preparing a pre-feasibility study report for the Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho railway with a view to starting work on it by 2030. The railway, with a speed of about 190 km/h for passenger trains and 120km/h for freight trains, could shorten travel times from Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City to only 75-80 minutes instead of 3-4 hours by road. It is also expected to help reduce traffic congestion in the region.
Concluding the June conference, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh showed his belief that with the determination and drastic actions of the entire political system, sectors and localities and the support of international friends, the Mekong Delta will develop strongly in the future, and become a developed region compared to others in the country./.