Drastic measures rolled out to resolve congestion at northern border gates ​ hinh anh 1Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien holds a meeting with representatives of ministries, sectors and localities on the settlement of goods congestions in northern border gates (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA)Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien has directed northern localities to apply drastic measures to resolve the congestion of goods in border gates, including setting up pandemic green zones for loading, unloading and technical treatment of goods, ensuring safety against the pandemic for both goods and transporters.

At an online meeting in Hanoi on January 18, the minister stressed the need to ensure customs clearance by all means for agricultural products stuck at northern border gates. 

The move is to materialise high-level agreements reached between Vietnam and China on the rights and interests of both sides and avoid public concern, especially as the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival is approaching, he said.

Congestions gradually controlled

According to Phan Van Chinh, head of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), cargo trucks have been stranded at border gates in Lang Son and Quang Ninh provinces in recent days as China has intensified COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Nearly 6,000 vehicles were waiting for customs clearance in the two provinces on December 24 and 25. Meanwhile, thousands of others were stuck on the Chinese side.

The ministry reported that as of January 17 morning, a total of 12 northern border gates had reopened and there were only 2,643 trucks stuck in Lang Son and Quang Ninh.

Leaders of Cao Bang and Lang Son provinces said they have regularly held working sessions with the Chinese side at different levels to push ahead with customs clearance.

The MoIT has decided to establish a steering board to handle the cargo congestion, headed by Minister Dien. 

The board instructs the authorities to take measures to remove bottlenecks in customs clearance at the northern border gates, provide updates on the situation for localities, and coordinate with relevant ministries, agencies and localities to regulate goods transportation to the border gates.

The MoIT has also established a working group that gives advice to the board in this regard and advised production and business facilities to observe pandemic prevention and control regulations.

Difficulties remain

Although the congestion of goods at the border gates has basically been put under control, insiders maintain there is still a high risk that the situation may occur again. 

Therefore, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has asked the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority and the Import-Export Department under the MoIT to coordinate closely together to control the situation in localities, as well as the number of vehicles at the border gates.

With a motto of ensuring smooth customs clearance for agricultural products in border gates, by all means, Minister Dien asked northern localities to coordinate with leaders of the MoIT and relevant ministries and agencies to promptly establish “green zones” to ensure safety against COVID-19. 

The zones, closed to ensure safety against COVID-19, are located inside the border gates for customs clearance activities, to which entries will be limited. All the transport and goods handling activities will be implemented by drivers and workers inside them.

Drastic measures rolled out to resolve congestion at northern border gates ​ hinh anh 2Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (Photo: VietnamPlus)

They should inform traders and production facilities to strictly apply safety solutions for their products, while providing original certificates, ensuring the quality of their products, and implementing regulations in packaging, preservation and delivery.

“It is necessary to keep regular contact with and give advice to local authorities that have agricultural and aquatic products for export to work closely with the Steering Committee, to ensure smooth transport of goods to the border as well as customs clearance in border gates. In the long run, it is crucial to make sure production is in line with planning, and market signals,” stressed Minister Dien./.