(VNS) Inland ports would help goods get around the Mekong Delta, Vo Hung Dung, director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce office in Can Tho Province, told the newspaper Tuoi Tre (Youth).
Some ports in Can Tho and An Giang are now in operation, while more recently, port authorities in Dong Thap Province made a bold decision to lease their Dong Thap port. Do you think that was the right decision?
I think it was a good decision as at present the port is almost sitting idle. By leasing it, the province will earn some money. Though the port was built many years before, it has been under-utilised due to the lack of goods. Port authorities have realised they don't have the capacity to run the port at full steam, while only large specialised companies can make profits from the ports as they have good logistics system and sizeable vessels.
In addition, Dong Thap Province does not have the potential, expertise or networks with other ports inside the country or internationally. Furthermore, if each locality had its own port and operated independently, it would end in disaster.
What are your suggestions for port authorities in the Mekong Delta?
To my knowledge, all these ports are under-utilised – operating at roughly 50 per cent of their design capacity. This is a big waste. It is high time provincial port authorities sit together to find solutions and seek support from outsiders like the Tan Cang company. I know Tan Cang is a big company with strong expertise in port management. At present, the company leases ports which operate as subsidiaries to their "mother port".
Besides Tan Cang company, I believe there are several large companies that can make our idle ports in the Mekong Delta profitable.
Do you think that building inland ports will be the solution to goods transportation issues in the region?
As I have mentioned above, to operate the ports efficiently we need synchronous measures, including support from capable and competent companies. In addition, each port should learn how to utilise its own comparative advantages and seek partners in port operation. I know some ports don't have channels big enough for large cargo vessels to enter. In such instances, strong networks with other ports would resolve the problem.
For example, in the Mekong delta, the Cai Cui and Can Tho ports could be turned into inland ports, just like Phuoc Long port in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cai Cui and Can Tho ports could then become transitional warehousing solutions for cargo before being transported to final destinations in Cat Lat, or Ba Ria- Vung Tau ports for export.
In the case of Can Tho, I believe an inland port can be built there. Once Can Tho inland port is ready for operation, it will become a very important transitional point for goods and cargo moving in the Mekong Delta.
This will be especially true while we wait for the Quan Chanh Bo project to be implemented and the Dinh An channel to be expanded to cater for vessels with cargo over 10,000 tonnes. — VNS