SSA Marine and Gemadept set to spearhead $6.7 billion Cai Mep Ha logistics centre

September 12, 2023 | 14:30
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US-based SSA Marine and Vietnam's Gemadept are partnering to develop the Cai Mep Ha Logistics Centre in Vietnam, with a projected valuation of $6.7 billion.
SSA Marine and Gemadept set to spearhead $6.7 billion Cai Mep Ha logistics centre

In a recent international gesture spotlighting Vietnam's rapidly growing port infrastructure, Seattle-based SSA Marine and Vietnam's Gemadept are on the cusp of forging a new partnership, as reported by local media on September 12.

The collaboration targets the southern Vietnamese port territory, especially the development of the Cai Mep Ha logistics centre.

"The creation of the Cai Mep Ha logistics centre signifies not just a leap for Vietnam, but for global logistics," an insider from SSA Marine said. "The vision is grand, the potential limitless."

Spanning over 2,200 hectares, once the centre comes to fruition, it will don the mantle of Vietnam's premier logistics hub.

Situated in the scenic locales of Phuoc Hoa ward, Phu My town, the initiative encompasses a dual-focused blueprint: a state-of-the-art logistics centre twinned with the strategically poised Cai Mep Ha downstream port.

This venture stands as an endeavour of national gravitas. The local authorities bestowed their endorsement back in September 2020, with nuances and modifications updated as recently as April 2022.

SSA Marine is the largest US owned and the largest privately held container terminal operator and cargo handling company in the world, handling approximately 35 million container TEUs per year at its marine and rail terminals, in addition to its significant activities in cruise, auto- and Ro/Ro logistics, IT Solutions, among others.

The company, with its 73 years of history, serves more than 250 locations worldwide, including port operations throughout the United States as well as internationally in Canada, Panama, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Asia and New Zealand.

During a seminar in October 2022, the advising firm, Portcoast, proposed two potential investment avenues: either via an auction selecting a singular or multiple investors or through staggered port investment strategies.

Accordingly, Portcoast recommended a two-phase approach – the first, lasting until 2030, would see the development of Cai Mep Ha covering 891ha. Following this, post-2025, the Cai Mep Ha downstream port would be developed over an area of 594ha.

Recent updates in June 2023, during a collective meeting of Ba Ria-Vung Tau People's Committee, reported a revised construction plan for the Cai Mep Ha logistics centre.

This modified plan, according to the province's Department of Transport and consultants, increases the total area from 1,763ha to nearly 2,204ha. The core project space is approximately 1,687ha, including both the logistics centre and the downstream port of Cai Mep Ha.

Moreover, the water surface area has been reduced to about 202ha. In addition, land initially reserved for clean energy storage will be repurposed for logistics and port functions.

The planning adjustment is strategic, aiming to elongate the port so it can accommodate the world’s largest ships, weighing up to 250,000 tonnes. Furthermore, the aforementioned 198ha land will be redefined to cater to logistics and port functions, along with the addition of potential water surface areas.

While Gemadept and SSA Marine are frontrunners, seven other investors have expressed interest in the project. Names like Geleximco, ITC, and a consortium bridging Vietnam and the EU, notably Besix - Boskalis - Hateco, are rumoured to be in the fray.

Upon completion, this centre promises to optimise transportation costs for imports and exports across various transit nodes, ranging from road, sea, rail, to air. It aspires to serve as a hub for receipt, storage, raw material processing, packaging, labelling, and distribution of goods for surrounding industrial zones, particularly the CM-TV port cluster, Vung Tau Port, and the broader southeast coastal port region.

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By Nhat Minh

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