Sunday, September 09, 2007

Vietnam allows foriegn companies into shipping

Vietnam has thrown open its maritime transport and services sector to international
players through a recent government decree.

The decree issued July 5 permits local and international shippers, carriers, and navigation

operators to expand their activities in Vietnam - “one of the fastest emerging markets” with

an expected economic growth of 8 percent this year.

It also allows foreign companies to provide a cargo agency, freight forwarding, warehousing,

depot, and other services as agreed by Vietnam under WTO or other international maritime treaties.

It permits international investors to own up to 49 percent in shipping joint ventures.

However, in piloting services, foreign ownership is restricted to 49 percent, while the piloting

vessels must be Vietnamese-flagged.

The decree is expected to provide significant business opportunities for foreign shipping and logistics companies, leading to the establishment of joint ventures and wholly foreign owned firms in Vietnam.

Vietnam Maritime Administration figures show that there are over 1,000 ships engaged in shipping

services, most of them with a capacity of less than 20,000 tons.

They have a combined capacity of 3.5 million tons, or just 20 percent of the domestic market.

Under the government strategy, a national shipping fleet will be set up to meet domestic

transport and 30 percent of the export cargo demand between now and 2010.

According to international marine groups, Vietnam has high potential as a marine equipment and technology importer with plenty of room to develop into one of leading shipbuilding countries in the world.