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Viet Nam Waterways Assessment

Viet Nam Waterways

Mekong Waterways
Viet Nam has 41,000 km of natural waterways, of which 8,000 km are used commercially.
Of these, the Viet Nam Inland Waterways Administration manages about 6,000 km as well as the main river ports; local governments manage the balance of the commercial waterways. River boats and barges have rapidly developed. In 1999, there were 63,600 units with a capacity of 1.7 million dead weight tons (DWT) and 197,000 passenger seats.
In 2003 this had increased to 83,000 boats with a capacity of 3.7 million DWT and 280,000 passenger seats. In addition there are tens of thousands of small “country” boats and ferry boats. Despite limited investment, the waterways remain attractive for the transport of coal, rice, sand, stone, gravel, and other usually high weight low value goods; and livelihoods and personal transport depend heavily and successfully on waterway transport in the delta regions of the Mekong and Red River.
The inland waterway system is managed by nine state waterway management companies; and river ports are managed by three port authorities. Inland waterway transport services are provided by state-owned enterprises operating under two state corporations attached to the Ministry of Transport Northern Waterway Transport Corporation and Southern Waterway Transport Corporation; specialized state-owned transport companies under other ministries carrying materials to cement plants, paper mills and construction material enterprises, and private for-hire operators.
Private operators have expanded their market share significantly in recent years. Foreign companies can provide transport services on the waterways through joint ventures in which the foreigner’s share does not exceed 49%.
Freight and passenger transport rates are freely determined by negotiation.

4.1 Viet Nam Government Contact List

For more information on the Waterways Administration contact identified in the contact list above, please select the following document:

Vietnam Waterways Assessment Additional Information

Note: The information provided in the attached documents, which has been taken from the old DLCA, does not match the structure of the new LCA and is therefore provided separately.

Company Information


  • All the transport companies are regulated or owned by the government.
  • Some privately owned fleets have been merged into corporations but the market remains under the control of the government.

4.4 Viet Nam Port and Waterways Company Contact List

Port Information

Ports Activities

The main ports are:

  1. Saigon
  2. Bin Thre
  3. Vinh Long
  4. Canh Tho

Exported Goods: Mainly rice and coconuts andproducts of the local industry (textile)

Imported Goods: 80% technical equipment for the local industries (agricultural machinery), 20% electronics

Main partner for import and exports: China

Mekong Network Data


  • Most of the ships’ capacity on the delta ranges from 200 to 400 mt
  • Form the sea to Ho Chi Min City, cargo ships of up to 50,000 tons may access the port.
  • Then any transport to the inland network is limited to 2,000 mt.
  • From the Sea to a distance of about 150 km after Bin Thre / Vinh Long and Canh Tho, the maximum depth is 17 m, and the maximum tonnage for cargo ships is 5,000 mt.
  • The rest of the 220 km to Cambodia may be accessed by cargo ships with a maximum of 3,000 mt capacity and the plimsoll line is set to 4 m on the river and its branches.
Main Type of Boats
Sea Cargo Ships2,000 to 5,000 mt, high tonnage (25,000 to 50,000) mt only to HCMC Port
BargesMax 700 mt – sand and other raw building materials
Traditional River TransportsAverage 300 mt, rice and food transport