Monday, October 15, 2007

Vietnam's 3,200km coast with 100 ports is rapidly developing

Experts warn of deflated sails in port system


Trucks wait to be loaded with imported fertilizer at Khanh Hoi Port in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Nhan

DA NANG — Attendees at a conference on port services and logistics yesterday urged the government to create zoning strategies and new investment policies that will attract investors and develop the local port industry in Viet Nam.

The National Committee for International Economic Co-operation and Da Nang City’s People’s Committee met to discuss strategies to develop the country’s seaports and logistical services.

Policymakers, company representatives and investors shared their thoughts on how to develop Viet Nam’s port system and logistic services.

The country has a total of 100 ports stretching along a lengthy 3,200 km of coastline, according to the Viet Nam Maritime Administration (VNMA).

The national port system, however, has not kept up with the rapid development of the shipping industry with major ports unable to receive super loading capacity vessels.

Most of ports in the southern regions are overloaded. Meanwhile, ports in the central region stand empty most of the time, according to VNMA.

The lack of sufficient international port-entrepots makes it difficult to integrate the country’s shipping activities into the global water transport system.

Moreover, the local logistical sector cannot handle the large number of cargo moving in or out of the country.

Approximately 900 enterprises offer logistical services in Viet Nam, most of them unprofessional, small and medium sized.

Findings from the Viet Nam Freight Forwarder Association show that these companies are seriously falling behind in their investments in their facilities and services.

Of 101 companies surveyed, the average investment capital was only US$93,750. That is far less than government requirements for the guarantee value of their businesses, which has to be at least $120,000.

The small amount of capital and insufficient manpower are creating difficulties in carrying out logistical services. Many enterprises have only three to five employees.

Due to their small size, local logistical companies often cannot open representative offices overseas, and instead opt to serve as agents for foreign shipping companies.

New port started

Viet Nam PSA, Viet Nam National Shipping Lines and Sai Gon Port began construction on an international port in Tan Thanh District, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province yesterday.

In the first stage of the project, the joint venture will invest $240 million. The port is scheduled for completion in 2009. The port will be able to handle 2 million TEUs per year when fully developed. — VNS