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Poor port planning hindering commerce

Update: November, 12/2015 - 10:25
The high price of the unloading service at ports played a role in making Vietnamese sea ports less competitive than those in neighbouring ASEAN nations. — Photo enternews.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Poor port planning management is stopping Viet Nam from taking full advantage of its 3,200km-long coastline, said National Assembly (NA) deputy Pham Tat Thang from Vinh Long yesterday at the meeting session of the NA.

The meeting brought the draft amended Maritime Law to the table for further discussion before it is finalised.

The mixture of inland ports which are partly connected to the sea with sea ports located in the same complex are one of the main problems with current port planning work.

"That kind of ‘mixture syndrome' resulted in the overlap of inland water routes with sea routes, causing a waste of investments as well as difficulties in port operations," Thang said.

This also posed a threat to maritime safety when inland waterway vessels were allowed to operate on sea routes at the same time, he said.

Those vessels, as their destinations were inland ports only, were very unlikely to be equipped to the standards of a maritime freight ship which were also operated by highly skilled pilots, unlike the personnel on most of the inland vessels.

Meanwhile, the high price of the unloading service at ports played a role in making Vietnamese sea ports less competitive than those in neighbouring ASEAN nations.

The cost to transport a container from a factory to ports in Viet Nam reached US$610 while it was $525 and $460 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, Thang said.

The dense inland waterway system of rivers and canal in Viet Nam, with a total stretch of more than 42,000 km, could very well be the answer to bringing down the unreasonable cost of the country's unloading service, he said.

"Those inland routes are our competitive advantage. The expense for transporting containers via inland waterways will definitely be much cheaper to those countries (Singapore and Malaysia) if we can manage them well," Thang said.

Deputy Dang Thi My Huong of Ninh Thuan Province asked for clarifying the legal status between captains and ship owners.

Many deputies called for thorough consideration of importing old ships to avoid a bad impact on the environment.

Some suggested the establishment of a port authority to take advantage of sea ports in order to contribute to maritime economic development in the time ahead. — VNS

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