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New mVietnam puzzled about how to develop port systemodern ports are incurring big losses, joint venture ports are in the danger of falling into the hands of foreigners, while the port system development program faces the risk of getting broken.

Big ports incur big losses

Do Hong Thai, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Maritime Bureau (Vinaamarine), has pointed out that too many problems still exist in the programming of the seaport system in Vietnam, including the unreasonable investment allocation.

Thai said since money has not been poured to develop the ports in the north, the seaports in Hai Phong City have become overloaded. Meanwhile, the modern ports newly developed in the south, including the Cai Mep – Thi Vai, have not run at full capacity due to the lack of goods.

Ngo Minh Tuan, Deputy General Director of Tan Cang Saigon, has revealed that the business result in 2011 and the first months of 2012 of the container ports belonging to the group No. 5 is “really worrying.” Most of the container ports in the Cai Mep – Thi Vai area have reportedly incurred big losses of between 6-7 million dollars and 20-30 million dollars.

Tuan has warned that this may lead to the fact that the ports managed by the joint ventures between Vietnamese and foreign partners would fall into the hands of foreigners. If so, foreigners would control the Vietnamese port service market

While modern ports have been built and put into operation, the transport infrastructure in the port area has not been ready yet.

Since most of the main ports are located near urban residential quarters, it is very difficult to rehabilitate the passage and the transport system that links roads with the ports. Tuan said this is one of the biggest problems that put difficulties for the operation of the modern ports in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province and HCM City.

“While northern ports are getting overloaded, southern ports are redundant. The lack of goods has forced port developers to get involved in an unhealthy competition in which no one can get benefits,” Thai said.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong has pointed out that there exists an unreasonable cooperation between the Ministry of Transport, the agency in charge of programming ports, and local authorities, in charge of allocating land and granting licenses to port projects.

This has led to the fact that the investment resources have been dispersed to different projects; while there has been no sufficient strength to focus on developing big ports of regional stature.

Seaport development program threatened to get broken

Experts believe that the seaport system has been developed in a patchy plan, which is the result of an unsystematic style of work. If local authorities think that there should be ports in their localities, ports would be built immediately, without considering the general port development system and long term vision.

In many localities, the old ports built many years ago which got degraded have been upgraded for exploitation, while no one thinks of demolishing them to develop completely new ones.

It seems that the seaport programming does not have much significance to the development of the seaport system in Vietnam. Truong said local authorities continuously ask for adding new port projects into the approved seaport development programs.

“Vietnamese ships have been seized when entering foreign ports, while foreign ships can go in and out of Vietnamese ports very easily, which shows the loosened control of the management agencies,” Truong said.

“The service fee in Vietnam is low, but there exist too many kinds of fees. All these problems must be settled, “he added.


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