Seaport and logistics advances get European flavour

December 21, 2022 | 14:00
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Vietnam is seeking European experiences and support in developing seaport and logistics infrastructure projects, with opportunities available for investors who are showing increased interest in the Southeast Asian market.

The Port of Rotterdam last week was visited by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who is interested in how Vietnam can develop its effective seaports which are in line with the master plan for the development of Vietnam’s seaport system from 2021 to 2030, with a vision to 2050, and in the context that its trade activities are on the rise.

PM Chinh examined the management and operation of the facility as part of his official visit to the Netherlands on December 13. The Port of Rotterdam is the busiest seaport in Europe, and the 10th largest in the world. It employs 500,000 people, and contributes 8 per cent to the Netherlands’ GDP.

“We want to learn experiences and get supported in port development. Vietnam, whose trade activities are being strongly expanded, wants to collaborate more with the Netherlands and the Port Authority in this sector for win-win cooperation,” PM Chinh said.

Seaport and logistics advances get European flavour

Vietnam’s total export-import turnover this year is estimated to be about $735 billion, far higher than $669 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

A representative from the Port Authority told him that Vietnam holds big potential as it has a long coastline with many deepwater areas suitable for port development. “Vietnam can build an international transshipment port and we will support the country in this project, with the method and scale of cooperation to be taken into account,” he said.

The Vietnamese government will assign relevant ministries and sectors to study proposals and recommendations for development cooperation, he added.

Last week in Belgium, PM Chinh met with Patric Bergamini, vice president in charge of public affairs, governmental contracts, and business development at CMA-CGM Group. The French logistics and transportation group is already operating with 420 seaports in 160 nations worldwide, with revenues reaching $31.5 billion in 2020 and $56 billion in 2021, and are estimated to be even higher this year.

Since 1994, CMA-CGM has been investing in Vietnam’s seaport infrastructure via cooperation with Vietnam’s Southern Waterborne Transport Corporation and Japan’s Mitsui & Co at Vietnam International Container Terminals in Ho Chi Minh City.

In April, CMA-CGM and Vietnam’s International Transportation and Trading JSC launched a joint venture to provide three shipments per week between SP-ITC port and Cai Mep port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Bergamini said that the group wants to expand the second phase of a port project in Cai Mep, construct another at Lach Huyen port in the northern city of Haiphong, and an inland container depot in southern Vietnam.

“Vietnam is one of our top 20 strategic investment locations,” Bergamini said, adding that the group is now implementing procedures for the licence of its air cargo transportation services in the country.

Some other foreign firms also want to invest in seaport projects in Vietnam. In a document sent to the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Transport (MoT) in October, Vietnam National Shipping Lines Corporation reaffirmed its desire to cooperate with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s largest container shipping company, and Terminal Investment Ltd., (TIL) to develop the Can Gio Transshipment Port in Ho Chi Minh City.

This will be the country’s largest foreign-invested transport infrastructure project, with total investment of as much as $4.4 billion.

Nguyen Canh Tinh, general director of the corporation, said that with its capital and long-term experience in port operation management, MSC would help transport international transhipment goods from countries in the region to the international transhipment port in Vietnam.

“MSC and TIL appreciate the proposed location of Can Gio Transhipment Port, as well as the potential to develop this port as a major international trade hub in the region,” Tinh said.

The existing Can Gio wharf is located at the mouth of the Cai Mep River, a favourable location in terms of channel depth on an international maritime route. The new wharf will accommodate container ships measuring up to 250,000DWT.

Under Vietnam’s master plan for the development of Vietnam’s seaport system for this decade and with a vision to 2050, as much as 95 per cent of the capital demand of about $13.6 billion will come from private investors, and capital from the state budget will be focused on public infrastructure works which will help attract private investment.

The ASEAN Investment Report 2023, released last week by the ASEAN Secretariat said, “Vietnam is now open to the private sector with programmes to attract investment and engage private sector partners in developing infrastructure. In 2021, for instance, Vietnam’s transport ministry announced its transport infrastructure master plan towards 2030, which is estimated to cost between $39.4 billion and $62 billion.”

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By Khoi Nguyen

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