Inland waterway transportation nowadays in VietNam

25.10.2022

Recently, we have heard much about the trend of developing inland waterway transport from the government.

So specifically, what is inland waterway transport, and why is it necessary to focus on?

Let's find out through the following article: 

1. What is inland waterway transport?

Inland waterway transport is essentially a form of transport using conventional waterways. However, this transportation of goods is limited within the "waterway system" within the boundaries of a country, for example, canals, rivers, lakes, seas, etc.

Goods will be transferred from one province to another through the interconnected system of ports, terminals, docks, etc. This form of transport will closely coordinate with road transportation to ensure extensive connectivity to all provinces (as many areas may not have a geographically adjacent location to the sea or suitable rivers or may require high-speed routes).

Due to domestic waterway system limitations, most inland transport vehicles have small to medium loads, transporting relatively light and less bulky cargo.

2. What is the current status of inland waterway transport development?

Despite Vietnam's long coastline along the S-shaped landmass and a dense network of canals, the development of inland waterway transport in Vietnam has not been commensurate with its potential.

Inland waterway transport in Vietnam's North and South has seen significant disparities. The development of inland waterway transport faces difficulties due to investment and development of water ports along river routes and challenges arising from the complexity of policies and regulations regarding embankment management.

Statistics show that as of the end of 2021, Vietnam had approximately 300 ports and 6,900 inland waterway docks, of which 5,450 docks have been granted operating licenses, including 2,526 river docks, with an approximate licensing rate of 85%.

Domestic inland waterway transport vehicles currently number around 235,000, with a total load capacity of 19.6 million tons.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an external random condition, has contributed to the development of inland waterway transport. Indeed, within just two years, inland waterway transport has gradually risen to account for 20% of the total transportation of goods in the entire transportation industry.

The volume transported through this method reached 237 million tons, an increase of nearly 3%.

Despite some rapid progress due to external factors, we still see limitations:

  • The share of responsibility for inland waterway transport at seaports is still meager (70% of cargo passes through these seaports).
  • Many transport routes are congested and have low bridge clearances (limiting vessel movement).
  • The transport distance of inland waterway transport is shorter than that of road transport, and connecting with other modes is inconvenient.
  • Our country's equipment at inland waterway ports is minimal, with low technological standards.
  • Although there are many inland waterway docks, they still lack connectivity, are small-scale, and are almost self-organized, causing difficulties in management and negative environmental impacts.
  • The primary vehicles are small, low-capacity vessels operating on short routes and lacking container-carrying vessels (to meet the demand for large cargo transshipment for seaports).

Read more: 

  • What you need to know about sea transportation
  • Learn about the largest shipping lines in the world in 2022
  • Learn about the largest seaport in Vietnam today

ALS hopes this article has helped readers understand more about inland waterway transport and the recent development situation of this freight transport method.

𝐀𝐋𝐒 – 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐀𝐯𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐬  
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