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News 20-Aug-2008  

Construction of Phu My Bridge: no deadlock for Gemadept operation

Recently, some newspapers have informed that container ships which are higher than 37.75m can not move through Phumy bridge construction site to berth at  VICT, Saigon port, Bennghe port & Tanthuan Port as from 26 Sep 2008 to 31 Jul 2009. This does not affect operation of Gemadept vessel fleet and Phuoclong ICD Port, because Gemadept’s ships are maximum 36m high and Midstream operation of PhuocLong ICD port is carried out at buoys downstream from the construction site.

One of the articles is as below:

HCM City: Commodity deadlock could occur again, and be bigger
16:46' 14/08/2008 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Businesses sighed with relief after hearing that the commodity jam at ports had been settled. However, experts have warned about the risks of another commodity deadlock, and a larger-scale one.


New deadlock forecast


Hoang Tat Thang, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Maritime Bureau, released shocking information at a meeting yesterday gathering representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, HCM City People’s Committee and relevant branches: he had been informed by the Phu My Bridge BOT Joint Stock Company that from September 2008 to July 2009, ships with the height of over 37.75m will not be able to pass underneath the bridge (because of the construction of Phu My Bridge).


As such, only ships to dock at Cat Lai port will not be influenced by this as they will not have to go underneath the bridge, while ships to dock at other ports all will suffer. Meanwhile, Cat Lai only undertakes 44% of total imports-exports, while other ports the other 56%.


Thang said that the biggest problem now is that ships with heights of over 37.75m account for 33% of total ships.


According to Ho Kim Lan, Secretary General of the Vietnam Seaport Association, ships of more than 37.75m in height are ships which can carry a lot of commodities. It is estimated that some 60-70% of commodities will be affected.


No solution has been found


Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said that the new information proves to be worrying. Bien suggested that the ships of more than 37.75m in height dock at Cat Lai port while shorter ships go to other ports.


However, Lan does not think that this is a feasible solution, saying that ships get used to their ports. For example, the ships carrying travellers of Saigon Tourist can dock at Saigon port only, while they cannot dock at Cat Lai port. Moreover, shipping agents all have signed long-term contracts with ports, and they will not be able to shift to other ports.


Awaiting final decision from government


Deputy Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hong and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien both stated at yesterday’s meeting that the commodity jam could repeat in the time to come, and on a larger scale, as the volume of imports and exports going through ports always increases at the end of years.


HCM City authorities and the ministry are going to propose the government give urgent instructions to deal with the problem.


‘Commodity jam’ fee burdening businesses


Businesses also complained at the meeting that they still have to pay the so-called ‘commodity jam’ fee. In fact, the HCM City People’s Committee has had several meetings to discuss the problem, but to no avail.


According to Tran Huy Hien, Secretary General of the Vietnam Freight Forwarding Association, the information that shipping agents have stopped collecting commodity jam fees was not true. Hien affirmed that shipping agents are still collecting the fee. TS Line began collecting the fee as of August 1, while MOL has announced it will begin collecting a fee as of September 1, and Yangminh August 11.


(Source: PL TP HCM, NLD, VnMedia)


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