Vietnam upgrades two ports

Vietnam upgrades two ports

Vietnam has begun upgrading container handling at its main northern port and is streamlining operations at another on the central coast.

Work to expand the Chua Ve container terminal in the northern Port of Haiphong will start in March at an estimated cost of $126 million,

financed by loans from the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, a city official said.

Haiphong serves the capital, Hanoi, and the Chua Ve terminal accounts for 50 percent of the country's total container handling capacity. The port handled 335,000 TEUs in 2002, the last complete figures available, up from 228,000 TEUs the previous year.

The Port of Saigon in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City processed 295,000 TEUs in 2002, against 269,000 the previous year.

This is the second phase of a project to double Haiphong's container capacity to 500,000 TEUs by 2006.

The $40 million first phase was completed in early 2000 with a container wharf and 25-acre container storage yard near the Chua Ve stevedoring terminal.

Also in store are new equipment and container management systems, and

dredging.

Construction of a second export processing zone in Haiphong is expected to start shortly. Officials are seeking investment from Chinese and Hong Kong investors for the project, which will focus on apparel and footwear production.

At Danang on the central coast, the customs agency has approved a trial of electronic declarations for incoming and outgoing vessels. Every vessel exiting or entering Danang will provide all information by e-mail and be granted clearance before arrival, an official at Vietnam Ports and Telecommunications Corp.

However, during the trial period until December next year, vessels must apply for customs clearance by traditional procedures as well. From January, 2006, all clearance will be electronic.

If the test proves successful, city officials intend to expand it to the

aviation sector.