The success of a planning project

By SGGP - 09/06/2009

Last week, Cai Mep - Thi Vai International Port Zone in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province consecutively made two remarkable events in international marine trading activities: receiving a 73.000 DWT vessel and launching a direct shipping line between Vietnam and USA. With those two events, the port zone officially affirms its role in local and regional marine activities.

For the tightness of Ho Chi Minh city

The success of a planning project
Loading 53 foot containers at deepwater SP-PSA terminal
Photo: Cao Thang
About five years ago, the sea port system for not only Ho Chi Minh city but also for Southern economic focal region and some provinces of MeKong river Delta, which was located in the city inner, initially faced many difficulties.

Port operation site became narrow in comparison with the requirements of economic development in the region and inter-port road system and main-line railway were also overloaded.

Especially, Long Tau navigation channel leading to the sea port system in Ho Chi Minh city was just 8.5m in depth unable to meet the transportation of goods by large tonnage vessels any longer.

Under such circumstance, the Government, Ministry of Transport and local authorities were forced to review and re-calculate the operation organization of the local sea ports.

Many surveys had been conducted and the section of Cai Mep - Thi Vai river with significantly deep navigation channel (the deepest location reaches over 40m and most shadow one of 10m) was selected to take the role of main goods terminal for the region in lieu of the sea port system in Ho Chi Minh city.

Mr. Tran Tan Phuc, General Director of Portcoast, the consultant for the development plant of sea port group in the territories of Ho Chi Minh city, Ba Ria - Vung Tau and Dong Nai Provinces, explained for that decision “In addition to the advantage of navigation, Cai Mep - Thi Vai area also is a “spacious, thinly populated” place, facilitating site clearance of the construction projects. But the most important fact is that Cai Mep - Thi Vai area is adjacent to the center of Southern focal economic zone. Goods can be distributed easily from Cai Mep - Thi Vai area to other regional places”.

The soundness of such decision have been approved by what are occurring in reality such as tens of big local and foreign investors constructing sea ports in that area.

Last week, SP-PSA international sea port, a joint venture between Vietnam National Shipping Lines, Sai Gon Port and PSA Vietnam, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's port operator PSA International was opened. Mr. Le Cong Minh, General Director of Sai Gon port informed that front water depth reached 14m and although the navigation had not been dredged, it was accessible to 60,000 DWT – 80,000 DWT vessels with the help of tides. This was an ideal depth for shipping activities, as a result, it was not by chance that after putting SP-PSA into operation, the ALP group, one of the world leading container shippers established a direct shipping route from SP-PSA port to USA. This route reduced the Vietnam - USA transportation time from 17 days to 15 days.

Mr. Tran Doan Tho, Deputy Minister of Transport, judged it was a significant event affecting to the economic development of the Southern economic focal zone. At the same time, Tan Cang Cai Mep deepwater container port received the vessel with tonnage of 73,000 DWT vessel named MOL Premium of Mitsui O.S.K Lines (Japan), this is the largest tonnage vessel ever arrived to the ports in Vietnam.

To the view for hundred years

When the direct route from Vietnam to USA was launched, APL also applied 53 foot containers in stead of traditional 20 and 40 foot containers in order to reduce the freights to their clients. In the Asia, this container type has been used only in Vietnam and China.

This application is not remarkable but it shows that port system in Cai Mep - Thi Vai area have been step by step approaching to the new means of sea transport of the world.

It is seem impossible for the port system in the inner of Ho Chi Minh city to apply this large container type due to above mentioned difficulties, especially overloaded roads.

In addition, Mr. Tran Tan Phuc informed that, when the all navigation channel of Cai Mep - Thi Vai zone was dredged to 14m, vessels with tonnage of 60.000 DWT - 80.000 DWT or even larger were accessible to the ports there without the help of tide. Currently, Ministry of Transport is urgently dredging the navigation channel for Cai Mep - Thi Vai zone in order to make that outlook come true. If there is not any change, from now to the end of 2011, Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT) owned by the Joint Venture of Sai Gon Port, Vinalines and Maersk Group (Denmark), SSA- Sai Gon International Container port invested by Sai Gon Port and SSA Group (UAS) etc shall be inaugurated and put into operation in Cai Mep - Thi Vai area.

Although, cargo throughput via ports in Ho Chi Minh city still increases, many economic experts believe that there is a removal of import-export cargoes from the ports in Ho Chi Minh city to those in Cai Mep - Thi Vai area. Especially, when the traffic system in Ho Chi Minh city becomes more and more overloaded, this trend shall be accelerated.

Of course, there are many things to be completed to make Cai Me - Thi Vai area becomes an international sea port. They include construction a logistic center, connection traffic systems etc. Regarding to this matter, Mr. Tran Minh Sanh, Chairman of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province People’s Committee committed that “provincial authorities shall create the most favorable condition for the investors and focus all sources to implement”.

Ministry of Transport also has been very urgent in speeding up the construction of bridge and road to Thi Vai - Cai Mep port zone and dredging of the navigation channel. It is concluded that if there is not any change, the port system in Cai Mep - Thi Vai area shall become a central sea port system of the Southern economic focal zone of Vietnam and of the region.

Development plan of port group in Ho Chi Minh city, Ba Ria - Vung Tau and Dong Nai Provinces

The plan affirms that Vietnam will develop a deepwater sea port system in Cai Mep - Thi Vai area accessible to 80,000DWT vessels. Ho Chi Minh city will develop port system capable of accommodating 50,000DWT vessels due to difficulties of space and navigation channel.

However, the demands on import and export in Ho Chi Minh city increased remarkably, People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh city actively recommended and was approved by Ministry of Transport and many concerned ministries and sectors to construct deepwater sea ports in Ho Chi Minh city (Hiep Phuoc zone) allowable to the vessels with tonnage of more than 50,000DWT. This plan has been executed with the dredging of Soai Rap channel and construction of many deepwater ports in Hiep Phuoc zone.

(Translated by Portcoast)

Source: SGGP

Soai Rap to be the main marine channel to Ho Chi Minh City

By Vietnam Logistics Review, No 19 - 05/2009

Management Authority for Sounth Area Development and Tan Thuan Industr...

Construction of Sai Gon-Hiep Phuoc port begins

By SGGP - 17/05/2009

On 16 May, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and Transport Ministe...

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai investigating the navigation channel and port locations on Sai Gon and Thi Vai rivers

By - 16/05/2009

On 16 May, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai headed the Government...