Logistics talent needs foot up

October 31, 2023 | 10:40
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Despite Vietnam’s rapid logistics expansion, the sector is at a critical juncture in talent development to sustain its significant expansion and global competitiveness.
Logistics talent needs foot up
Logistics talent needs foot up, illustration photo/ Source: freepik.com

At a seminar held last week in Ho Chi Minh City, experts and business leaders agreed that the logistics sector offers a substantial number of employment opportunities.

Nguyen Thanh Nha, CEO of Tan Cang STC, a joint venture of Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP), detailed the strategic expansion of Vietnam’s seaports through 2021-2030, which is split into five clusters stretching from the northern port group to the Mekong Delta region.

“Vietnam currently stands as the third-strongest in Southeast Asia’s logistics sector, only trailing behind Malaysia and Singapore,” Nha said.

He highlighted SNP’s dominance in Vietnam with 18 functional centres and branches, including 16 wharfs, six inland container depots, and 29 subsidiaries.

SNP’s workforce includes 7,200 port staff and over 10,000 contract workers, but the ever-expanding logistics industry necessitates a continual influx of new talent.

“By 2025, we anticipate a need for nearly 1,500 new employees, primarily in operations, container driving, dispatch, technical roles, river shipping, freight handling, business transactions, and client communications,” Nha said. “This surging demand underscores the critical necessity for skilled staff, integral to the ongoing development and success of SNP.”

Meanwhile, Nguyen Nam Hai, deputy general director of Nam Van Logistics, concurred, noting that the current workforce only fulfils about 40 per cent of the industry’s requirements. Leading up to 2030 and beyond, the demand for skilled logistics personnel is expected to grow substantially.

“More than 4,000 businesses operate within the logistics sector in Vietnam, yet professional expertise is concentrated in over half of businesses based in Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, logistics students should not worry about unemployment,” Hai said, emphasising the critical need for high-quality human resources.

Despite abundant employment opportunities, meeting job requirements and adapting to market changes demand a workforce equipped with extensive knowledge and skills. At SNP, potential candidates are expected to be proficient in foreign languages, understand logistics jargon, be IT-savvy, and be adept in logistics software and management across various domains.

“Logistics is globally oriented and rapidly developing, necessitating fluency in English, along with specific industry knowledge and a passion for continual learning,” Nha added.

Pham Anh Tuan, director of Air and Maritime Transportation at U&I Logistics, pointed out that logistics employees must possess a broad range of knowledge and skills. For example, a legal staff member needs not only expertise in law, but also a profound understanding of the industry’s operations to handle and pre-empt legal disputes.

“Beyond professional skills and dedication, health is also crucial, considering the industry’s unique time constraints. For instance, communicating with clients in the US might require working until 2-3am local time. Thus, maintaining good health is paramount for logistics professionals,” Tuan said.

Tran Ba Tung, director of manufacturing company Fine Scandinavia, outlined the hierarchical and functional layers within a logistics factory. He highlighted the importance of clear role demarcation, from the CEO to departmental directors and specialised staff. “Each position demands distinct skills. For instance, those in supply positions must master the intricacies of imports and exports, while procurement staff need to be adept in inventory forecasting models,” Tung said.

Thomas Harris, CEO of Harris Global, a recruitment consultancy in IT and business change, added, “The deficit in skilled labour is not only stymieing the potential of Vietnam’s logistics sector but also results in higher operational costs compared to neighbouring countries.”

Data from Mordor Intelligence reveals that Vietnam’s freight and logistics market size is estimated at $45.19 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach $65.34 billion by 2029, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.34 per cent between now and 2029.

According to the Vietnam Institute of Logistics Research and Development, the sector is projected to require an additional 2.2 million workers by 2030.

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By Huong Dung

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