The domestic truck market has seen significant growth since the Ministry of Transport's decision to increase control and oversight of overloaded vehicles and ensure the safety of all drivers on the roads.

The ministry in April said overloaded trucks were a major cause of traffic accidents and road damage.

The policy appears to have been successful, as the number of traffic accidents since April has decreased and the transport sector seems to be more competitive, especially the truck market.

According to independent market watchdogs, the tightened controls on overloaded trucks have caused a slower flow of goods, particularly at local ports.

An official of the transport ministry, who declined to be named, said that as many as 60 percent of container trucks owned by local firms are no longer eligible to carry containers, under the new policy.

Most of the owners of the trucks had initially registered their vehicles to carry far less weight than the actual load of their containers.

With such a change, transport firms have had to buy or arrange to use other trucks suitable for their goods.

Huynh Trung Thanh, director of a transportation cooperative in Thu Duc district, said: "We have had to lower the load of many vehicles to avoid being punished, so our carrying capacity fell by half. To meet our regular customers' demand, we are going to buy between five and 10 container trucks."

Dinh Nam Dinh, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Cargo Transportation Association, also said that many local transport companies would have to purchase more vehicles if they wanted to keep their customers.

"Some companies will even have to double their number of vehicles to maintain their carrying capacity. The vehicles that they want to buy now will be those with high carrying capacity such as container trucks, heavy-duty trucks and medium-duty trucks," Dinh said.

According to several truck trading companies in HCM City, the number of both domestically assembled and imported trucks sold recently has increased significantly, particularly eight- and 10-tonne vehicles.

A representative of the Nam Viet Motor Company, a distributor of Japan's Hyundai Motor Company in Vietnam, said in May the number of Hyundai trucks sold was up 89 percent compared with the same period last year.

"In the first five months of the year, the company achieved a 130 percent growth in selling trucks," he said.

In addition to an increase in the number of sold trucks, the domestic market has also seen a sharp price surge of vehicles of this kind, analysts said.

For instance, the new price of heavy trucks is hundreds of millions of dong higher than it was before, while the price of container vehicles has also gone up by 300 to 400 million VND (14,120-18,800 USD).

Anticipating that the demand for trucks would rise following the ministry's decision in April, many major truck trading companies such as Thaco, Hyundai, Hino Motors Vietnam and Isuzu Vietnam began to make preparations to supply the market.

However, according to market watchdogs, both manufacturers and importers have not been able to meet demand due to the sudden increase.

Tran Tuan Hung, director of a transport company in Tan Binh, said he wanted to buy five medium-duty trucks that were domestically assembled but he was told that he would have to wait at least six months.

"I now have to buy imported vehicles, but I don't know if I can receive them immediately or not," Hung said.-VNA