Alert for “cargoes waiting for room in terminal”

By Tuoitre Online - 12/06/2008

Hundreds thousands tons of cargoes are being stuck in terminals due to traffic problem and many ships are queuing up for berthing as a result of the reason that sea port system has not been planed properly. The stagnation of cargo flow at terminals in Ho Chi Minh City area causes concern to public.

Part 1: Many ports but cargo flow is still stagnated

Alert for “cargoes waiting for room in terminal”
Photo: T.T.D

Hundreds thousands tons of cargoes are being stuck in terminals due to traffic problem and many ships are queuing up for berthing as a result of the reason that sea port system has not been planed properly. The stagnation of cargo flow at terminals in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) area causes concern to public. It will have the negative impact to economic development in the future if this situation prolongs.

No space for stacking at terminal

On these days, road lines for truck from outskirt to inner city of HCMC are busier than normal especially the route from Saigon bridge to Nguyen Huu Canh-Ton Duc Thang and the route from Ham Nghi-Nam Ky Khoi Nghia-Nguyen Tat Thanh to those ports in District 4 and 7.

Long queue of trucks are waiting for cargoes in front of Tan Cang Cat Lai on the inter- province road 25 B. According to some enterprises working in transportation industry, from this Lunar New Year to now, because the volume of cargoes arrive much more than before so they have to maximize their capacity to meet the demand of moving cargoes out.

Viet Nam International Container Terminal (VICT), Ben Nghe port, Saigon New port are full of cargoes. At Lotus port (District 7), the premise is expanded to give more spaces for incoming cargoes. At VICT, to have enough space, containers have to be stacked to the height of 6 to 7 storeys. The same as it is in Tan Thuan Dong and Khanh Hoi port, containers have also stacked very height.

According to Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Lu, vice chairman of HCMC container transportation Association, overload trucks crossed Tan Thuan Bridge (District 7) were fined to cause insufficient means of transport . Recently, Dong Nai management unit issued the regulation not to allow trucks with the capacity over 25 tons to cross the bridge; other regulation from custom department regulated that containers can only be released to consignees after they have already reached the port of destination. These two regulations cause the delay on receiving goods. Mr. Roy Cummins, General Director of Saigon Premier Container Terminal, judged that these disorders might only be stabilized in second half of next year.

Lack of port because of poor plan

The demand of container transportation increase rapidly. According to Portcoast, the volume of import-export cargoes especially container cargoes increase rapidly. Total volume of container which Sai Gon New port handle was 411,627 tons in 2000 and 1.84 million tons in 2007 (increase of 28.4% per year). Sai Gon port’s handling volume increase from 237,331 containers to 385,311 containers; VICT’s volume from 122,650 containers to 572,045 containers; Phuoc Long Inland Custom Depot’s volume from 68,421 containers to 221.119 containers etc. Total discharge volume of six biggest ports in HCMC was 960,029 containers in 2006 and 3.271 millions containers in 2007.

The real reason to explain this stagnation is that the amount of cargoes through national seaport system for the period 2003-2010 is estimated not close to what are happening.

Ministry of Transport has planed HCMC ports will receive around 26.3 million tons of good until 2010 but in fact that only until 2006, the amount has already reached 45.5 million tons. Similarly, the SFEA consist of HCMC, Dong Nai and Ba Ria Vung Tau is planed to receive 52.9 million tons of load and unload goods until 2010 but total amount this area received until 2006 already exceed the planed amount to reach 52.61 million tons.

A representative from VICT though that HCMC may need to build one terminal as big as VICT’ size every year to give space for such increasing demand. One of leaders from Vinamarine shared the idea that it is easy to understand that the stagnation of cargo is caused by the small size and low handling capacity of current ports.

According to Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hue - vice director of Vinamarine, because of the narrow vision, the Viet Nam seaport master plan till 2010 can not reach the active, suitability and logic of seaport system. The preparation, questionnaires, and appraisal of master plan are prolonged and executed slow. The investment progress into general and container terminals in Ba Ria Vung Tau is also slow to cause negative impact to HCMC.

And from Ministry of Transport, general terminals and specialized terminals are majority and container terminal is just minority in Vietnam seaport structure whilst the demand of container cargoes through container terminal increases more and more especially in the SFEA. Currently, all products to Vietnam mainly berth in 15 terminals such as Tan Thuan Dong port, Sai Gon Port, Hai Phong, Ben Nghe, VICT, Quy Nhon, Cai Lan, Da Nang.etc

According to Mr. Pham Anh Tuan, Project Director of Portcoast, a corporation assigned by MOT to prepare the seaport master plan in Viet Nam, Vietnam owns a lot of ports in term of quality but not in term of size. Giving Southern Focus Economic Area (SFEA) as example, from year of 2000 to now, except for Sai Gon New Port who has successfully completed its expansion of container terminal in Cat Lai, no other general terminals or container terminals can be completed the construction and put into operation. This will make the stagnation of cargo flow in HCMC more seriously.

Rearrange seaport system

Recently, Prime Minister has just assigned MOT to carry out the national seaport system plan to 2020 and orientation till 2030 as well as allowed MOT to seek for international consultant to do the research or appraisal for the plan.

Alert for “cargoes waiting for room in terminal”
Photo: T.T.D

This plan is going to adjust the volume of cargo through Vietnam seaport system to reach 230 mil tons-250 mil tons in 2010, 200% increase compared with previous plan, and 500-550 mil tons in 2020. The volume of cargo through sea ports in HCMC is updated based on the current estimated volume and the increase in future to reach 100 mil tons, 200% increase compared with previous plan.

Also from Mr. Pham Anh Tuan, planning for development strategies for sea port system should make some proposals on open policies to facilitate and encourage other economic sectors and foreign investors to invest in seaport infrastructure. At present, a lot of foreign investors would like to make investment in either general terminal or container terminal in some areas which are not planned yet. Therefore, new master plan when approved will open door to welcome more potential investors to invest in Viet Nam sea port.

(Translated by Portcoast)

Source: Tuoitre Online

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