The Da Nang Port in central Da Nang city handled about 1.3 million tonnes of cargo, including 47,000 TEU on container ships, in the first quarter of this year, a 37.6 percent rise compared with the same period last year, a local newspaper reported.

Last year, the total volume of cargo transported through the port reached 5 million tonnes, the highest ever recorded in the city, Da Nang Today added.

In an effort to encourage local shipping companies and businesses to shift freight transport from road to sea, four domestic sea transport routes between Da Nang, Sai Gon and Hai Phong ports have been opened. T his has helped facilitate enterprises in Da Nang, as well as in the central region and highlands, to access low-cost freight transport services.

According to calculations by local businesses, the cost of transporting goods by sea will be less than 30 percent of that on road. As a result, 90 percent of big businesses in the city and the central region and highlands have so far transported their cargo by sea instead of by road.

The Da Nang Port is targeting to handle 5.5 million tonnes of cargo by the end of the year, and the target is quite feasible.

However, Da Nang Port General Director Nguyen Thu said that the port is facing an overload of container ships, with the port’s container handling wharves kept very busy.

In addition, an area of the port is designated for receiving cruise ships, which causes an increase in the overload. As a result , the Da Nang Port is now in need of expansion and more wharves. It is hoped that the implementation of the Tien Sa Port expansion project over the 2011 - 2017 period will be completed on schedule in order to meet the increasing demand of customers.-VNA