Ports look to remain buoyant

October 01, 2011 | 16:20
Industry insiders are scoping ways to keep port efficiency float.

Cai Mep-Thi Vai seaport illustration photo

“The Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) needs to propose the prime minister stop financially feeding seaports built in areas with low demand to help key seaports fill up with cargo,” a ship chandlers’ representative said during a meeting to enhance management capacity of international seaports in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

A Cai Mep-Thi Vai seaport representative said: “Licencing seaport construction in areas with low cargo transit demands should be restricted. For instance, it would be not late to build Van Phong port in south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa 20 years later since the region has a low demand for cargo.”

According to Portcoast Consultant’s deputy general director Pham Anh Tuan, most local seaports had low loading capacity, whereas the demand for goods transport by containers and container terminals was escalating.

“If these ports are brought together in big port areas with modern handling equipment, it will help slash expenses remarkably,” said Tuan.

Cai Mep International Terminal Company Limited (CMIT) deputy general director Nguyen Xuan Ky said modern seaports like CMIT faced shutting operations due to losses.

“A number of ports will come online in the Cai Mep-Thi Vai area in the coming period such as Gemalink, while cargo volumes have slid, triggering price competition among ports,” said Ky.

Ky noted that foreign shipping firms were the beneficiaries when price competition occurred among local ports.

Vietnam Seaports Association general secretary Ho Kim Lan said many ports were isolated as little attention was paid to building roads linking to seaports.

“Most roads to ports face serious quality deterioration, hindering cargo transport to ports. The association forwarded proposals to the government and relevant state agencies asking for remedial actions,” said Lan.

Ho Chi Minh City Sea Science and Economics Association general secretary Doan Manh Dung said most seaports had shallow water levels hindering them from receiving big ships.

VMA chief Nguyen Ngoc Hue said the VMA would come up with a project on deepening Cai Mep-Thi Vai channel, making it accessible by big ships and upgrading road systems linking to the port.

Vietnam was home to 56 seaports and the number would exceed 170 if specialised ports were included, according to Vietnam Seaports Association general secretary Ho Kim Lan.


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