A comprehensive action plan is now in place to propel the growth of the local shipbuilding industry, the Vietnam Investment Review reported on November 17.

The action plan to develop the industry submitted by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) was just approved by the Prime Minister as part of the Vietnam-Japan cooperative framework to 2020, with vision towards 2030.

“The action plan carries the dual target of reviving the industry and changing the perception that Vietnam could only build low-grade ships,” Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong was quoted as saying.

A major highlight in the action plan includes Vietnam's pursuing the target of quickly and strongly developing the shipbuilding industry to grab a bigger share in the world shipbuilding market.

Priority will be placed on manufacturing product lines suitable to the industry’s current capacity and existing market demands.

From now until 2020, the shipbuilding industry will be obligated to fulfil three targets of posting an average growth rate of 5-7 percent in annual total value. It will also allocate 70-80 percent of its production capacity to serve the domestic market, and has set a target of ship export volume of 1.76-2.16 million tonnes per year, equal to a 0.48 percent share of the world’s shipbuilding market.

To realise this vision, three specialised shipbuilding complexes will shortly be established in the north, centre and south focusing on building ships based on existing infrastructure with support from Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The first step in the 6-year action plan will be to sharply reduce the number of shipyards before consolidating them into larger, more efficient developments.

Ship repair facilities will also be a key focus. Vietnam will set aside resources to establish three large-scale ship overhaul centres employing state-of-the art repair technologies in the three regions, linking them to existing ports and international shipping lines.

In the period to 2020, these repair yards will meet 90 percent of the demand for repairing low-grade ships and 60-70 percent of the demand for medium-grade ships.

According to the MoT assessment, existing ship repair facilities can only meet 46 percent of the demand of the national fleet.

Vietnam currently spends 75 million USD getting ships repaired abroad despite having 120 facilities capable of carrying out repair work.

In respect of near-term plans, the MoT said it would preside over the establishment of three shipbuilding complexes and the building of several core businesses while creating a fund to support shipbuilding industry development from 2015-2020.

Other important tasks are forming strategic partnership relations between potential investors and domestic shipbuilding firms, shaping associated support industries, and defining which types of vessels are in high demand.-VNA