Vietnam Container Volume Up 8.5% in 2020, Expansion Underway

Vietnam container port volumes increased by 8.5% in 2020 to 16.94 million TEU, up from 15.62 million TEU in 2019. Growth was primarily driven by substantial terminals in Lach Huyen, in central Vietnam, and Cai Mep in the South province of Vung Tau, close to Ho Chi Minh City. Volume at Lach Huyen, a public private partnership between the government of Japan and Vietnam which was inaugurated in 2018, jumped from 418,558 teu to 661,071 teu while container cargo at Cai Mep terminals grew to 4.41m teu, up from 3.74m teu the year before. Saigon New Port Corporation, run by the Vietnamese Navy, posted excellent results in its ports of Saigon (Cat Lai) with 5.59m teu, and two terminals in Cai Mep where they moved 2.83m teu, the largest participant in the Southern port complex.

According to industry analysts, Vietnam’s port sector is set to flourish in 2021 as trade in goods is expected to thrive on the back of recovery in production. Total foreign trade in 2020 was estimated at $543.9bn, a year-on-year increase of 5.1%. The Deputy Minister of Transport acknowledged that Vietnam lacks a large international standard port while several small ones have inadequate infrastructure, resulting in inefficient port operations.

Vietnam is planning significant investments designed to create world class ports in the next phase of its master plan for its port system. The focus will be on developing the Hai Phong and Cai Mep ports to international standards. Vietnam also plans to invest in the central economic zones as part of the effort for the development of major ports and clusters that can accommodate large container ships. On the expansion front, Hai Phong Port Joint-Stock Company said that the $299m-project of container terminals 3 and 4, with a length of 750m main berth, 150m barge berth and capacity of 1.1m teu, at the Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in Hai Phong City will begin construction at the end of 2021. Terminal 3 is expected to be operational by 2023 and the whole project will be completed in 2025.