|Goods are loaded onto ships at Cai Lan Port in northern coastal Quang Ninh Province. The new coastal shipping route from Quang Ninh to central Quang Binh Province is expected to boost waterway transportation, thereby reducing pressure on the nation's roads. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Manh Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — A coastal shipping route connecting northern Quang Ninh Province and central Quang Binh Province officially opened last Saturday.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said the sea route would reduce high inventories at ports, in addition to restructuring Viet Nam's freight market to place less emphasis on road transport.
About 70 per cent of goods are transported via roads, according to director of the ministry's Marine Department Nguyen Nhat. After the minister stepped up vehicle weight inspections in April, road transport became up to ten times more expensive than waterway transport.
Nhat said that the move also increased inventory levels at Hai Phong, Nghe An and Ha Tinh ports as well as the number of ships docked at other ports.
"Sea transportation takes three times longer than road transportation, but freight charges by sea are usually one-fifth or one-sixth of those by road," he said.
Vice chairman of National Committee for Road Safety Khuat Viet Hung said that the coastal shipping route would help reduce pressure on roads because about 300,000 container trucks would be replaced with ships. The route could also boost the use of inland ports and seaports, Hung said.
Roughly 500,000-600,000 tonnes of goods each month are transported between the provinces on the new route (Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh).
Director of Thai Ha Shipping Joint Stocks Company Tran Duc Lanh said the route was best for short-distance shipping and recommended legal changes that would allow inland waterway vessels to be upgraded to seaway vessels. — VNS