Vietnam has nearly 3,300km of coastline but most of the system of the seaports is obsolete and small, unable to meet the increasing demand of a strongly developing economy. Therefore, plans to build and develop a system of seaports, focusing on renewing the technology, broadening the ports, building deep water ports and in-transit ports of regional and international dimensions for accommodating big freighters are being implemented.
The Vietnam National Shipping Lines is building deep water ports, particularly Van Phong Port in Khanh Hoa, into modern and large-scale international in-transit ports, expanding Lach Huyen Seaport in Hai Phong to accommodate 60,000-80,000DWT-ships, building Ben Dinh Sao Mai Port and moving Sai Gon Port to Cai Mep-Thi Vai area in Vung Tau to accommodate big ships coming to handle goods. The port is striving to reach a capacity of handling 50-55 million tonnes of goods by 2010. With Vietnam becoming a member of the World Trade Organization, the amount of goods to the country will increase rapidly and its economy will enjoy a high growth rate. The seaports will play a more important role because they serve as the gates to domestic and international markets. Building a modern system of seaports becomes more urgent.
Vietnam Pictorial reporters made a survey trip to some big ports of the country.
Cai Lan Port is prepared for development and integration
Lying in the immense space of Ha Long Bay, Cai Lan Port together with Cai Lan Industrial Zone and Bai Chay Bridge constitute a lively picture. Director of Cai Lan Port in Quang Ninh Vu Khac Tu said that it is the most modern port in Vietnam. It was built in October 1999 with the ODA fund from the Japanese Government and located in a favourable area sheltered from the wind, with less alluvia, deep water and straight flow. The Port has a large area for turning, well-equipped wharfs, modern equipment for loading and unloading goods and freight yards and stores of international standards, able to handle simultaneously three 40,000DWT-ships. Vu Khac Tu also said that to meet the requirements for integration, Cai Lan Port must increase its competition and investment and renew technology. In addition to three wharfs, No. 5, 6 and 7 that work at full capacity, the Port has installed two more state-of-the-art gantries and frame cranes for handling goods. Local and foreign customers pay much attention to the systems of controlling and managing the port’s activities as well as handing over and receiving the containers, aiming to reduce the goods-handling time.
Visiting Cai Lan Port, we realized that it has the scale of a modern international port. The floor is smooth and clean. The drainage and lighting systems are arranged sensibly. It takes only seven minutes to search for the goods on the computer network. Also, every two hours, the places of the customers’ containers are reported on the Port’s website. Thanks to the use of information technology, the goods handling at Cai Lan Port is quick, saving 30% of the time for loading and unloading a ship.
Apart from freighters, many tourist ships also arrive at Cai Lan Port. Since November 2006, 52 tourist ships carrying tens of thousands of visitors have landed at Cai Lan Port. Although operating for a short period of time, the Port has achieved high praise from domestic and international friends.
Expanded Hai Phong Port
Leaving Cai Lan Port, we visited Hai Phong Port which is more than 100 years old.
The area from the main port of Chua Ve to Dinh Vu Port is really a construction site. According to General Director Ngo Bac Ha, Hai Phong Port has a modern infrastructure and equipment suitable to international modes of transport. It has nearly 3,000m of gangways and transport areas, more than 600,000m2 of freight yards and 51,000m2 of standard stores. Every year, the Port invests hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong in state-of-the-art equipment for loading and unloading goods, including forklift trucks and crane trucks to meet the increasing circulation of goods at the port. It has renewed the management information system (MIS) and applied the quality management system ISO 9001:2000 in the sea management and exploitation. In 2006, the total amount of goods handled at Hai Phong Port reached 11.151 million tonnes, an increase of 6.08% over the year 2005 and surpassing expectations.
On the path of integration, Hai Phong Port continues investment in its expansion, aiming to increase the capacity of handling goods to 18-20 million tonnes by 2010.
Phase 2 of the large-scale Dinh Vu Port Project is being carried out at an area, 10km away from Chua Ve Port. When completed Dinh Vu Port will have eight wharfs that can accommodate ships of over 20,000DWT.
Hai Phong Port has dredged 10-plus million m2 of alluvial sands, reaching the depth of 7.3m, an increase of 3m. The opening of a 5km-long new route running via Cat Hai and Lach Huyen Islands is not only significant to Hai Phong Port’s history but also meets the needs of integration. Now, ships of 40,000DWT can land at Dinh Vu Port through the new route, shortening the running time to meet the customers’ demand.
Da Nang Port – a gate in central Vietnam
Da Nang Port was inaugurated more than 100 years ago and has become the fourth biggest port in the country, after Sai Gon Port, Cai Lan Port and Hai Phong Port. It consists of two areas including Tien Sa and Han River areas, with 1,493m of gangways.
Tien Sa area is a natural sea port with a water depth of 10-12m. With 965m of gangways, it can simultaneously accommodate five ships including RORO ships, freighters of up to 45,000DWT as well as super-long, super-heavy freighters, container ships of 2,500TEUs and passenger ships of 75,000GRT. The amount of goods handled at the port is 3.5-5 million tonnes a year. Lying by the Han River, two miles away from Tien Sa area is Han River port for domestic freighters of 5,000DWT. It has a depth of 6-7m and is able to accommodate 10 ships simultaneously. Its capacity of handling goods is nearly one million tonnes a year.
Over the past five years, Da Nang City has upgraded the transport system linking ports with industrial zones and main highways in the region. Goods are transported on Highway 1A from the northern and southern provinces, on Highway 14B to provinces in the Central Highlands or to Bo Y border gate to Laos, Thailand and Myanmar in the East-West Economic Corridor.
Da Nang Port also receives tourist ships. In 2006 alone, nearly 20,000 foreigners arrived at Da Nang Port, more than twice as many people compared with the year 2002.
We met and talked with some tourists who took Costa Ship to visit Vietnam. All of them said that they felt comfortable when landing at Da Nang Port. Zaganin Elisa, Manager of Costa Ship tour said she had arrived at Da Nang Port many times on her visits to Vietnam. Like other foreign tourists, she was pleased and delighted because Vietnam in general and Da Nang in particular have many beautiful landscapes, such as the ancient town of Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary, the old imperial capital of Hue, Phong Nha-Ke Bang caves and grottos. Koki Shoji from Mitsui Company (Japan) was interested in the operation capability and material conditions of Da Nang Port so as to seek opportunities for co-operation.
Da Nang Port signed co-operation documents with Kawasaki Port (Japan) in 1994 and with Oakland Port (US) in 2006, aiming to share experiences and information, train human resources and upgrade its infrastructure. Via Da Nang Port, the shipping routes from all parts of the world to Laos and North-eastern Thai Land is the shortest, most convenient and least expensive.
The busy port of Sai Gon
Sai Gon Port is always busy with trucks going in and out and ships from many countries anchoring to wait for the handling of goods. Cranes of different categories work at full capacity. The managers, especially longshoremen and drivers have to regularly take extra shifts but all of them are devoted to their work.
In recent years, the amount of goods handled at Sai Gon Port, on the average, accounts for 32% of the total capacity of the seaport sector and more than 30% of the total turnover of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines, reaching 12,001,665 tonnes, maintaining the role of a major national port in the key economic area in the South.
The economic development of the country and Ho Chi Minh City as well has posed both advantages and challenges to Sai Gon Port. General Director of Sai Gon Port, Le Cong Minh confided: “To survive and develop, there is no other way but to bring into full play the internal force and increase co-operation and investment to tap the available potential and at the same time make further investment in building Sai Gon Port into a national sea port of regional and international dimension”.
To date, the Port has four development investment projects including a joint venture with SSA Marine (US) to build a container port in Cai Mep Ha with a total investment of 160 million USD, a joint venture with APM Terminal (Denmark) to build a container port in Cai Mep Thuong with a total investment capital of 186 million USD, a joint venture with PSA (Singapore) to build Thi Vai Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, and Hiep Phuoc project in Ho Chi Minh City with a total investment capital of 2,300 billion Vietnamese dong which is being implemented as planned to start operation by 2010. In the future, Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi area, a part of Sai Gon Port will be changed into an international tourist port.
The system of seaports lying along the country’s 3,300km of coastline has experienced great changes to further open its gate to get new opportunities for national development.
|Now the country has 266 wharfs with a total length of more than 35,000m and millions of square metres of stores and freight yards, able to receive 140 million tonnes of goods a year. Over the last decade, the amount of goods handled at the ports increased by 10-12% a year. It is expected that by 2010, the amount of goods handled at the ports will reach 265-plus million tonnes and increase to nearly 480 million tonnes by 2020.|
|The master plan of the seaport system in Vietnam will focus on three port complexes in the North, Central and South Vietnam. These complexes comprise main groups, including the group in the northern region (Quang Ninh – Ninh Binh), the group in the northern area of the central region (Thanh Hoa – Nghe Tinh), the group in the central area of the central region (Quang Binh – Quang Ngai), the group in the southern area of the central region (Binh Dinh – Binh Thuan), the group in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the group in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River delta and the group in Con Dao.|
|In the field of investment, in 2006, the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (VINALINES) signed memoranda of understanding with City Group (US) on lending the former 200 million USD to implement investment projects, with Deutsche Bank AG (Germany) to become mutual long-term partners, and with Credit Suisse (Switzerland) on lending the former one billion USD to develop its fleets of ships and build ports. VINALINES has established a joint venture project with SSA Holding International Vietnam (US) on investing, building and tapping the wharfs No. 2,3 and 4 of Cai Lan Port in Quang Ninh.|
By Vietnam Pictorial reporters
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