Upgrade expected at int’l port cluster hinh anh 1

Cai Mep-Thi Vai receives large container vessels which travel directly to Europe and the US without the need to transit through a third country. (Source: nld.com.vn)

Ba Ria-Vung Tau (VNA) – Infrastructure around the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port cluster, the only port cluster that can receive large container vessels in Vietnam, is expected to be upgraded so that it can become a major national and international port.

Cai Mep-Thi Vai receives large container vessels which travel directly to Europe and the US without the need to transit through a third country.

Though cargo volume through the port has risen 16 percent annually over the last five years, insufficient infrastructure, including connecting roads, has slowed growth, according to a report from the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s People’s Committee.

Road 965, for example, is the only road that connects to National Highway No. 51 and to roads leading to industrial parks near the port cluster.

While roads inside the port cluster are now being built, construction of the Phuoc Hoa-Cai Mep Road and 991B Road are only in the planning stages as there is a capital shortage.

To expedite travel and meet demand, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province authorities have asked the central government to speed up construction of Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway which links Cai Mep-Thi Vai with several southern provinces.

Though the port system can accommodate the world’s biggest vessels, the Vung Tau-Thi Vai navigation channel has not been dredged effectively.

During a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, who led an inspection delegation to the port cluster last weekend, provincial leaders suggested that the government dredge Vung Tau-Thi Vai navigation according to the 16-metre standard used to receive large vessels.

Dung told local leaders that the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port cluster was an important international transit port contributing greatly to socio-economic development and that it had received investment priority for high-tech equipment that would help increase cargo-loading capacity.

However, Dung said the port cluster still faced limitations, including zoning, connectivity and transport infrastructure, mostly due to poor management of the port cluster zone.

“The Ministry of Transport can’t be responsible for everything,” said Dung, adding that infrastructure connectivity both inside and outside the port system was badly needed.

He suggested mobilising capital from various sources, including the private sector, to improve connections between Cai Mep–Thi Vai and HCM City and other localities in the region.

In response to suggestions from the local authorities, Deputy PM Dung has asked ministries and sectors to conduct a feasibility study on navigation dredging for very large vessels.

Nguyen Van Trinh, Chairman of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s People’s Committee, said the effectiveness of the port remained low, at 1.2 million TEUs a year, equivalent to 18 percent of the port cluster’s capacity.

Original plans called for Ba Ria-Vung Tau to have a total of 57 seaports. Twenty-eight of them have been built with 2 billion USD. All of the built ports are in use, with total annual loading capacity of 98.9 million tonnes.

At the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port cluster, 17 ports are in use, with total annual loading capacity of 93 million tonnes. There are an additional 35 projects in the planning stage.

In addition, a number of container ports at Cai Mep-Thi Vai, worth 27 trillion VND, opened in 2009, with annual loading capacity of 6.8 million TEUs.

Every week, there are 20 turns of vessels over 80.000 DWT, including an average of two with loading capacity of 160,000 DWT, departing from the port cluster.

With the advantages of deepwater ports, the travel time between Vietnam and other countries is shortened, leading to better service quality and cost effectiveness.

However, in recent years, the supply of goods shipped through the port system has not reached the predicted figure, despite great investments in high-tech equipment from many ports.

According to the Vietnam Marine Administration, services at the port cluster have not developed well, and along with underdeveloped infrastructure, the port complex has been unattractive to transport firms.

The Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex opened in late January 2013 after four years of construction.

The project was financed by Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and reciprocal capital from Vietnam.-VNA