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UK firms eye port projects   2009-03-03 - VietNamNet/SGT

Companies from the United Kingdom are seeking to join port and terminal development projects in Vietnam and consider this as one of their priorities, according to the chairman of the UK Ports and Terminals Group.

 Vinamarine chairman Vuong Dinh Lam (R) talks to UK delegates after the UK Maritime Industries seminar in HCMC last week.

Gordon Rankine told the Daily before he and members of the group left Vietnam last week that UK businesses had classified the opportunities in port projects as their “high priority”.

“Vietnam is an exciting market in terms of port development,” Rankine said. He added that UK companies had plans to come back later this year or early next year to work with their Vietnamese businesses in port developments.

“Certainly, there are plans to be considered and thought about,” Rankine said in response to the Daily’s question about the chances for UK companies to invest in or team up with their Vietnamese counterparts to develop port projects in Vietnam.

Rankine said UK companies had much experiences and expertise in developing ports and terminals in different countries around the world.

“We can plan and design projects… and can work with local companies for port development in Vietnam,” Rankine said after officials of the Vietnam Maritime Administration (Vinamarine) presented future port developments in Vietnam at the “UK Maritime Industries” seminar held in HCMC last week.

Nguyen Viet Dung, director of Vinamarine’s International Cooperation Department, said huge investment was needed to develop a number of deep-water ports for large-sized vessels in addition to upgrading existing seaports which number nearly 50.

Among the major future port projects include the international gateway ports of Lach Huyen in the northern city of Hai Phong and Cai Mep-Thi Vai in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and the International Transshipment Port of Van Phong in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

As planned, 14 berths will be built in the Port of Lach Huyen in Haiphong and be able to handle 180-200 million tons of cargo a year, with four for containerized cargo, two for bulk cargo and five for general merchandise. The berths can handle general cargo ships of up to 50,000 DWT and container ships of 4,000 to 6,000 TEU.

The first two berths are scheduled to undergo construction in 2010-2015, with annual cargo throughput of six million tons.

As for the Van Phong Transshipment Port, 36-42 berths will be developed in the Van Phong Bay to handle vessels of 9,000-12,000 TEUs. The first two berths will likely be built with domestic funding for container vessels of 4,000 TEUs.

The cargo to be transshipped at this international port will comprise oil products and containerized cargo.

Viet said the international port complex of Cai Mep-Thi Vai and Ben Dinh-Sao Mai will be mainly developed for container vessels of 6,000 to 80,000 TEUs. The channel leading to this complex will be dredged to 14-16 meters deep.

Vuong Dinh Lam, chairman of Vinamarine under the Ministry of Transport, told UK visiting businesses that the Government pointed out development of seaport and logistics infrastructure as priority in order to fuel economic growth.

Lam said up to 90% of the cargo in Vietnam was transported by sea. Viet put the transported cargo volume at nearly 200 million tons last year, which is higher than the 181 million tons in the year before.

Vietnam is attracting the attention of international companies including UK business who see a developing market across the maritime sector and a growing private sector participation in its port expansion.

Port operators, developers, representatives of the UK’s leading international port consultancies, and suppliers of marine equipment and services were in HCMC last week to showcase their products at the exhibition Maritime Vietnam 2009 well as visited shipyards and ports to seek to collaborate and partner with local companies.

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