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Portcoast has completed the Vietnam’s Sea Port System Planning Project
By Shipping Times, Sep 2009

 

The issue of sea port transport system is still on the hot table. Is it due to either the incompetence of port planning or the lack of synchronism in the infrastructure development?

This is the content of exchange between Shipping Times Magazine’s reporter and Mr Pham Anh Tuan, the Project Manager of Portcoast Consultant Corporation (Portcoast) – the Vietnam’s top unit  in sea port consultant  field.

 

Portcoast has just completed the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project in Vietnam, which has been submitted to the Prime Minister by the Ministry of Transport for approval. Could you raise any comment of its impacts on the national socio-economic development?

 

With regard to the impacts of the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project on the national socio-economic development, it is essential to take the previous Sea Port Planning (The Vietnam’s Sea Port System Development Planning up to 2020 approved by the Prime Minister on Decision No 202/1999/QĐ – TTg dated 10/20/1999) into consideration.

A navigational Law has, in reality, been promulgated to be in service of the Vietnam’s Sea Port System development since the planning came into being in 1999. In term of the infrastructure, the Vietnam’s Sea Port System has been improved, sized and speeded on a considerable scale following the nearly 10 years of deployment and execution of the planning and a nation-wide Sea Port system has been initially established with types of variously functional ports. The Sea Port System development, over the past time, has basically satisfied the approved planning, securing import/export cargo throughput and local exchange by seaway, playing an important role in promoting the socio-economic growth and partially meeting the need of socio-economic development in the country in general and coastal areas in particular.

However, after the nearly 10-year development, the Vietnam’s Sea Port System has expressed its shortcomings such as scientific lack and limited visibility of the planning and the Vietnam’s Sea Port System development has not yet achieved a break-through as a result. Additionally, the Government and local authorities have not exhibited a synchronous collaboration in the establishment and management of the planning.

In short, the shortcomings of the Vietnam’s current Sea Port infrastructure system are:

The first is lack of synchronism of sea port development and relevant fields. Functions of ports in the system are not yet obviously sorted while types of vessels are wordily listed. Unintentionally, the redundancy in the number of ports and their capacity has been artificialized as a result. Also, some small specialized berths are located with general container berths accommodating large vessles, which wastes the area of coastline and blocks the management, operation, fire fighting and environmental protection. Moreover, the collaboration in the establishment and management of the planning is not yet paid much attention to by the Government and local authorities. Consequently, the development of Sea ports and relevant fields has not been locally satisfactorily synchronized.

The second is lack of synchronism of scale and process, such as port berth and public sea port (vessels’operation and channel security ) infrastructure; sea ports and infrastructure system network (roads, power, water supply, logistics); the development of sea ports and the planning of land use, environmental protection and industrial zone and urban development.

The third is weakness of quality of service and poverty of technology. For the evidence, there is the shortage of deep-water berths for large vessels, especially berths for container cargo vessels’ far operation and the equipment is backward, which is in weak service of the handling and management.

However, we have, in the context of nowadays, gained some considerable advantages which are in service of the planning. For instances, the sea port system planning up to 2020 has been completed; as the WTO’s member since 12/2006, Vietnam has been sharply integrating with the world’s economies, especially in marine field; the 2005 reformed Navigational Law has come into being, which creates a smooth legislative access for the sea port infrastructure investment and development; also, the national and local strategies of socio-economic development up to 2020 have been supplemented. As thus, the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project in Vietnam is very essential.

 

How can the Sea Port System Planning Project having just been completed by Portcoast help surmount the above shortcomings?

 

Portcoast has just completed the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project in Vietnam, which has been submitted to the Prime Minister by the Ministry of Transport dated 07/30/2009 for approval.

The Vietnam’s present Sea Port Development Planning concentrates on: classifying roles, positions and functions of ports and port groups; affirming the decisive important roles of Van Phong International Transit and International Gateway Terminals in central economic areas; specifying roles and scale of development of regional and local central terminals and other specialized ports. Thanks to it, we can establish or adjust the detailed planning of port complexes and central terminals and produce sea port investment and development plans in the system.

First of all, in term of the purpose of development, the Vietnam’s 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project is to synchronously satisfy three requests. The first is to generally develop the national sea port system; to secure the ability of competition in international economic integration; to opportunely meet the demand of markets and the national socio-economic development; and to create favorable conditions for the attraction of foreign investment capital in service of coastal urban industrial zones’ development. The second is to synchronously construct some sea ports, especially deep-water ports in the North, Center and South which can satisfy international and regional standards in order to be open to the world and to attract the regional countries. The third is to speedily surmount the poverty of technology, weakness of quality of service and the lack of synchronism between port piers and berths and public sea port infrastructure, especially navigational channels and transport network and logistics.

In order to achieve the foresaid purposes of development, some opinions can be raised: the first is to maximally take the advantages of national geographical position and natural resources, particularly marine potential in order to comprehensively develop the Vietnam’s sea port system and quickly integrate with the regional countries in sea port field. The second is to synchronously develop sea port infrastructure system including berths, water supply and channels and secure the navigation and post-port infrastructure network; to ensure the uninterrupted connection between sea ports and national transport network and local logistics. The third is to prioritize the investment and development of transit, international gateway and important specialized terminals; to appropriately gradually reinforce, improve and expand ports in the system; to pay much attention to the maintenance and repair of sea port infrastructure and ensure the efficiency and synchronism in the operation. The fourth is to direct towards the sea as to approach the far sea at speed; to smooth channels and motivate the development of coastal urban economic areas. The next is to maximally mobilize national and foreign labor resources to develop sea ports; to promote the socialization of investment and development of sea port infrastructure, not only for port piers and berths but also for public sea port infrastructure (channels, wave prevention breakwaters, roads, power and water supply…). The last but not least is to closely combine sea port development and environmental management and protection; to stabilize the development and ensure the national defence and security.

I do believe that the Planning will play an extremenly important role in the national socio-economic development, especially in the rate of integration with economies in the world.

 

With respect to  the issue of being stuck in the sea ports in Ho Chi Minh city, it is assumed to be caused by the slow deployment of post-port transport infrastructure project. Could you tell us for details and is this issue predicted in Portcoast’s sea port planning projects?

 

In the establishment of detailed planning of sea port group No 5 (Ho Chi Minh – Dong Nai – Vung Tau port system), many relevant plannings have been combined, especially plannings in relevance to post-port transport infrastructure. For instance, for the sea port system in Ho Chi Minh area, the relevant plannings such as Vietnam transport system investigation and development planning (Vitranss); Southern port investigation and development planning (JICA); Ho Chi Minh space and transport development plannings… have all been executed in combination with local road transport network development planning, of which there is the 2005, 2010, 2015 up-to and 2020- bound transport infrastructure network connecting to the port planning areas.

However, for many reasons, the infrastructure network investment has not been deployed upon the project. On the other hand, there is no synchronism between port construction investment and post-port transport infrastructure network development. Unavoidedly, the issue of being stuck in gateways in large sea ports has occurred as a result.

The foresaid lack of synchronism has also come out in Sea port group No 5 (mainly ports in Ho Chi Minh area which can accommodate about 50% of cargo throughput in the national sea port system, with the yearly rate of cargo throughput growth of approximately 20%) and it has not been able to exhibit its roles. Also, transport jams, over the past time, have seriously increased in some routes, especially interprovincial highway No 25 connecting to Cat Lai port. In the coming years, access roads to Cai Mep – Thi Vai and Hiep Phuoc ports are surely to be similarly situated without being surmounted right away.

 

It is assumed that there should be a “bandmaster” to synchronously conduct sea port infrastructure projects and post-port infrastructure network. As a corporation specializing in sea port planning, could you tell us who is presently suitable to the position as a “bandmaster” who can conduct efficiently at most?

 

It is very essential to have a “bandmaster” to synchronously conduct sea port infrastructure projects and post-port infrastructure network. Nationally, the State’s Committee of transport planning is the center that can conduct and direct offices and departments in implementing the investment of central projects upon the planning approved by the Prime Minister.

Regionally or locally, it is also essential to establish a similar committee that can direct the deployment and synchronously conduct infrastructure projects. For instance, for Thi Vai – Vung Tau port system, since 1996, the Ministry of Transport has established a Management of Thi Vai – Vung Tau deep-water sea port system planning, in collaboration with the People’s Committee in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. The Management is to be in charge of monitoring and speeding up the accomplishment of Ba Ria – Vung Tau port planning, examining and controlling investors’ implementation of contents specified in the approved investment project and dealing with emergency issues…

 

It is assumed that “waterway system is the common resource for the whole area and the motive of development not only for the Southern motive economic zone but also for the Western highlands and the Mekong Delta. Therefore, the planning should not be divided based on administrative boundary”. The argument is to explain  the consideration of empowering local authorities in issuing investment licenses, which can take considerable effects on the scale of planning as well as post-port infrastructure system network. Could you raise any comment on the above argument?

 

I totally agree on the argument that the planning should not be divided based on administrative boundary. Upon the planning, functions of port complexes/ports have, in reality, been sorted to be in service of the whole area.

For instance, in the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port Planning Project in Vietnam, Cai Mep – Vung Tau (Ba Ria – Vung Tau) ports have been considered to be an international gateway port group and national central general ones of the whole Southern area. However, I entirely disagree on the argument that “there should be the consideration of empowering local authorities in issuing investment licenses, which can take considerable effects on the scale of planning as well as post-port infrastructure system network”. For this reason, the projects shall, in principle, only be issued for investment licenses in the condition of being in compliance with the approved planning; secondly, upon the execution of issuing investment licenses for the projects, local authories shall offer a request by petition to relevant offices for approval; thirdly, the empowerment of issuing investment licenses for local authorities shall help lessen burdens to the Ministry of Science and Investment and speed up the issuing procedures, which takes considerable effects on the schedule of investment of the projects.

 

“Portcoast has just completed the 2020 up-to and 2030-bound Sea Port System Planning Project in Vietnam, which has been submitted to the Prime Minister by the Ministry of Transport dated 07/30/2009 for approval. The Vietnam’s present Sea Port Development Planning concentrates on: classifying roles, positions and functions of ports and port groups; affirming the decisive important roles of Van Phong International Transit and International Gateway Terminals in central economic areas; specifying roles and scales of development of regional and local central terminals and other specialized ports. Thanks to it, we can establish or adjust the detailed planning of port complexes and central terminals and produce port investment and development plans in the system”.

Mr Pham Anh Tuan – the Project Manager of Portcoast Consultant Corporation (Portcoast)

 

M.TÂM - T.HIỀN
(translated by Portcoast)

 
 

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