Vinamarine improves ship waste handling services at Saigon New Port – Cat Lai Terminal

February 04, 2021 | 12:18
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To protect the marine environment from ship waste, Vietnam Maritime Administration (Vinamarine) has been working with the EU-German co-founded project Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter. Since April 2020, the sides organised pilot activities at Cat Lai Terminal in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon New Port, to assess existing ship waste management practices and submit recommendations to enhance the management of waste from ships in the port.
vinamarine improves ship waste handling services at saigon new port cat lai terminal
The workshop on the “National Vision towards efficient and competitive ship waste management in Vietnamese ports” was held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 22

In recent years, the marine economy and port operations in particular have been growing in Vietnam, posing challenges to sustainable development. Vessels generate waste from their operations (for example oily waste, domestic wastewater, hazardous waste, plastic waste, among others) which, without proper management, are likely to be illegally dumped into the sea, causing serious and long-term impacts on the marine environment.

Those waste and residues which are prohibited from being discharged into the sea must be collected at port reception facilities for further treatment. The EU-Vietnamese pilot project is now working to enhance the regulatory framework and to promote such efficient and sustainable ship waste management approaches.

On January 22, 2021, the partners organised a workshop on a “National Vision towards efficient and competitive ship waste management in Vietnamese ports” in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing together leaders and representatives of Vinamarine, Saigon New Port (Cat Lai Terminal), and relevant stakeholders to discuss the recommendations proposed for Cat Lai Terminal and the way forward for the next phase.

Within the workshop, best practices from the EU were presented, including its directives on port reception facilities. These require for example a mandatory ship waste notification of waste type and volume, a cost recovery system and clear procedures for the collection, treatment, and final disposal of the waste delivered. They also include a clear and transparent contractual framework with private waste operators and a Ship Waste Management Manual to inform about all ship waste management aspects in the port.

vinamarine improves ship waste handling services at saigon new port cat lai terminal
Nguyen Hoang, deputy director of Vinamarine addressed the workshop

All participants actively contributed ideas and inputs for the upcoming phase. Speaking at the workshop, Tran Thi Tu Anh, deputy director of the Science, Technology and Environment Department under Vinamarine, explained that, “The project was kicked off in April 2020 and it has completed the first phase. Vinamarine, as the project coordinator, has reviewed all relevant regulations relating to ship waste handling at ports and has monitored the implementation process of Cat Lai Terminal to identify any legal constrains in relation to the provisions of international conventions."

In the second phase, based on the feedbacks from workshop participants, the pilot project will implement the prioritised recommendations, which include upgrading online waste notification processing at Vinamarine Ho Chi Minh City (digitalising the process and applying more informative waste notification form), implementing Ship Waste Management Manual, training for stakeholder staff.

The effectiveness of the second phase will be evaluated and serve as basis for proposing amendments to the existing legal framework of Vietnam on ship waste management. Upon successful implementation, the project will, in cooperation with Vinamarine, prepare a concrete action plan for the dissemination of lessons learned from Cat Lai Terminal to other Vietnamese ports.

According to Tu Anh, the existing waste notification system has some limitations, such as no clear guidance or mechanism for users to declare precisely the type of waste to be delivered to the port reception facility as required by MARPOL.

In the future, Vinamarine will raise the awareness of port authorities and agents about the revised ship waste notification system, which will be available online. Increasing digitalisation of maritime services is also a priority of the Vietnamese government.

“Vinamarine highly appreciates the proposal of experts about a cost recovery system that incentivises waste delivery and which is partly or fully based on indirect fees. This means that all vessels calling Vietnamese ports are responsible to pay a fee regardless of their actual waste delivery. However, such a system now being implemented in European ports will require a more thorough analysis regarding the economic consequences," she said.

vinamarine improves ship waste handling services at saigon new port cat lai terminal
Rui Ludovino, first counsellor at the Delegation of the EU to Vietnam made a keynote speech at the workshop

According to Pham Thi Thuy Van, marketing vice-director of Saigon New Port – Cat Lai Terminal, Cat Lai Terminal welcomes around 10 vessels each day. The system in place for ships to deliver its waste is working but there is a need for upgrading and improving the system in order to be more competitive in the future. She said that Vietnam should develop guiding manuals and launch campaigns to raise the awareness of captains and crew members about the importance of waste management. However, she also suggested that handling ship waste from vessels at ports needs to be in line with the Vietnamese conditions.

Van stressed that, “The regulatory bodies are in charge of monitoring and controlling ship waste handling. Meanwhile, all ports need to take action to address this issue, not Cat Lai Terminal alone. This will create synergies across the port system and avoid misunderstandings for clients, especially in the midst of the ongoing trade war.” The pilot project will facilitate this process, outcomes are expected in early 2022 to be shared with other ports in Vietnam.

For more information about the “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy solutions to marine litter” project:

By Thanh Van

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