Van Phong voyage gathers speed

October 17, 2011 | 07:00
Vietnam’s dream of building an international transshipment port, to compete with regional port hubs, is closer to reality as Port of Rotterdam is looking to dock with the Van Phong seaport project.
illustration photo

Port of Rotterdam Authority, developer and operator of the European Union’s largest port, this month signed a declaration of intent with Vietnam’s Vinalines to jump into the project. The ultimate aim is to investigate the feasibility of further cooperation between the parties for the development and exploitation of ports, Port of Rotterdam Authority said.

“This concerns the Van Phong International Transshipment Hub port in the south of Vietnam in particular,” the port authority stated. Van Phong international transit seaport project is one of the most important infrastructure projects in Vietnam. The seaport will cover 750 hectares and include 37 berths. It could accommodate large vessels up to 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

The Vietnamese government four years ago appointed Vinalines in collaboration with Vietnam Maritime Administration to plan the seaport, developing it as a hub which can compete with regional ports.

Vinalines also gained an investment certificate for building the first two berths of the seaport with total investment of $183 million. However, the construction of this port has been delayed because Vinalines faced difficulties in mobilising funds.

The involvement of Port of Rotterdam will support Vinalines to make Vietnam’s ambition come true.
Nguyen Canh Viet, general director of Vinalines, said the state-owned corporation and Port of Rotterdam would establish a joint venture this month to develop the project.

Port of Rotterdam is the first foreign investor to join hands with Vinalines to develop Van Phong port. In 2007, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation expressed interest in cooperating with Vinalines for investing into this project.

However, this joint venture has never been established. Vinalines said the cooperation with Port of Rotterdam was a chance for it to learn experiences and market intelligence in port management. Port of Rotterdam is the global fourth largest port and also an important waterway to European Union.

The declaration of intent is in line with the policy of the Port Authority to expand its foreign activities. The Port Authority has a successful joint venture, Sohar Industrial Port Company, with the sultanate of Oman. The Port Authority wants to develop similar initiatives and to that aim it is also looking at countries such as China, Brazil, India and Romania.

By Thu Linh

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