Friday, January 04, 2008

Vietnam's seaport industry to bloom in 2008

Seaport industry to bloom this year
17:26' 03/01/2008 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – There will be a nourishing of investment projects in the seaport construction industry in Vietnam in 2008, said Vuong Dinh Lam, Head of the Viet Nam Maritime Administration.

These projects are expected to significantly change the current seaport system in Vietnam, which is operating below its potential in terms of both the number of ports and operational quality, Lam said.

Currently, there are 17 active projects investing in seaport construction, most situated in the southern region, Lam said. The total registered capital to 2010 is US$1.5bil, and $2.4bil to 2020.

Big projects include the Sai Gon Premier Container Terminal project, a joint venture between U.K P&O Ports Sai Gon Holdings Limited and Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Company, which invested $249mil to construct a world-class container terminal with an estimated capacity of 1.5mil TEU.

Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the nation's leading maritime construction firm, also plans a score of seaport projects for the new year, according to Vinalines general director Mai Van Phuc.

"The investment will stretch out to all regions of the country," Phuc said.

Beginning in 2008, Vinalines will launch the construction of the N2, N3 and N4 stations at the Cai Lan port in the northern province of Quang Ninh. Five new stations for 20,000 DWT ships will also be constructed at the Dinh Vu Port in coastal Hai Phong Province. The deep seaport project at Lach Huyen will also be launched no later than February 2008.

In the central region, Van Phong seaport, which will be able to receive ships with capacity of up to 400,000DWT- or 17,000TEU- will be the key project. The seaport, once in operation, is expected to contribute significantly to the province and its neighbours.

The effective use of Van Phong port could earn Khanh Hoa coastal province VND1tril ($62.5mil) each year, said a representative from Khanh Hoa at a workshop on marine-economy in Hanoi in December.

Also in 2008, Vinalines will launch a seaport construction project in Son Tra peninsula in Da Nang in HCM City.

In HCM City, Vinalines will co-operate with US SSA Holding International Viet Nam to build two new container stations in the Cai Mep - Thi Vai area. Another port construction projection in co-orperation with Denish Maersk A/S for ships with capacity from 80,000 - 100,000DWT will also be launched in this area.

With these projects in 2008, hopefully the seaport industry situation in Vietnam would have significant positive changes, Phuc said.

Current situation

Shortcomings in the strategy as well as practical development of Vietnamese seaport system have long been identified by experts and responsible officials.

Nguyen Ngoc Hue, Deputy Head of the Viet Nam Maritime Administration admitted that Vietnam is seriously lacking in high-capacity ports.

"There's quite a few of our current 100 seaports able to receive ships with capacity of more than 50,000 DWT [this is the average capacity ship in the world]," he said.

Most of the current ports in Vietnam are only able to receive ships with 10,000 DWT (accounting for more than 45% of the ports) and 10,000 - 20,000 DWT.

The Ministry of Transport, in its assessment of the seaport system in HCM City in 2007, pointed out existing problems: a lack of long-term strategy, inaccurate forecasts of future demand, and slow and incomprehensive scheming.

For a coastal country like Vietnam, the maritime economy- to which the seaport industry is a main contributor- holds great potential, but current exploitation is much lower than it should be, said Vo Dai Luoc, former president of the World Economy Institute, at a workshop in December."

According to the Viet Nam Maritime Administration, the amount of goods trading through Vietnamese ports in 2007 is estimated at 174.3mil tonnes, an increase of 12.7% over 2006.

Of this figure, container goods represented 4.3 tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 26.2%. Transit goods contributed about 17mil tonnes.

(Source: Viet Nam News)