Several recommendations on reducing congestion at Cat Lai port

VCN - On May 19, at the seminar "Facilitating decongestion and logistics at Cat Lai terminal", held by the General Department of Vietnam Customs and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the delegates made many recommendations on reducing congestion at Cat Lai port.
Mr. Claudio, USAID TFP project manager, outlined the recommendations of the research report. Photo: T.H
Mr. Claudio, USAID TFP project manager, outlined the recommendations of the research report. Photo: T.H

Facilitation

At the workshop, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department, General Department of Vietnam Customs, said the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) has implemented many measures to support and remove difficulties for businesses, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, contributing to a favorable and healthy business environment for investors and businesses.

Within the framework of USAID's trade facilitation project, GDVC organized this workshop with the expectation of sharing and listening to obstacles of the business community and competent authorities at Cat Lai port towards a progressive spirit, thereby proposing solutions to improve trade and logistics, reduce clearance time, and accompany businesses.

“As international trade gradually recovers from the impact of Covid-19, solving congestion at Cat Lai port is even more of a priority. The anti-congestion solutions which have been researched and announced at the workshop will facilitate international trade and contribute to helping Vietnam improve its competitiveness in the region and the world,” a representative of the GDVC said.

From the perspective of the state management authority in charge of Cat Lai port, Deputy Director of the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch Nguyen Thanh Long mentioned many solutions that have been implemented to facilitate businesses and reduce congestion at Cat Lai port.

According to Long, on average, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch carries out clearance procedures for a total turnover of import-export goods of about US$30 billion every year; with state revenue reaching VND40,000 billion. In addition, the unit also carries out supervision procedures for 35,000 declarations of enterprises opening customs declarations at other local customs units.

With such a large quantity of goods, the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch has completely applied electronic procedures. Along with that, the Branch has implemented a project to facilitate trade at Cat Lai port, helping businesses reduce clearance time and costs, improve the role of customs broker agents, and reduce congestion at Cat Lai port, especially support to improve business efficiency at the port.

Besides that, the Customs authority effectively used inspection and supervision equipment.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, a representative of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, thanked Mrs. Ann Marie Yatishock for her contribution to the Customs facilitation work. Photo: T.H
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, a representative of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, thanked Mrs. Ann Marie Yatishock for her contribution to the Customs facilitation work. Photo: T.H

Currently, the GDVC has equipped three scanning machines at Cat Lai port, and is being equipped with two more scanning machines. At the same time, the Customs authority effectively used hundreds of electronic seals in the supervision of imported goods in order to ensure customs management and facilitate trade activities.

21 recommendations to reduce congestion at Cat Lai port

Mrs. Ann Marie Yastishock, Director of the US Agency for International Development in Vietnam, said that import and export goods through Cat Lai port – the largest seaport in Vietnam – were continuously increasing, and were expected to continue to increase in the future. Therefore, solving congestion at Cat Lai port was a top priority.

After more than a year of implementation, the project comprehensively reviewed port operations on an area of ​​160 hectares and customs procedures at the port in order to assess operational efficiency, bottlenecks and obstacles in the process of enhancing the port's cargo loading capacity. Thereby, 21 recommendations were made in the form of an action plan for local authorities and relevant agencies to consider.

These recommendations range from leveraging information technology solutions to enhance information flows and cargo clearance to arranging or expanding port infrastructure and improving operational efficiency.

In addition, through the project, USAID is working with the Vietnam Maritime Administration and the Ministry of Transport to examine potential areas for public-private partnership, an effective way to mobilize investment for large-scale infrastructure projects.

“Reducing congestion at Vietnam's ports will become increasingly important as trade gradually recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The pre-feasibility study at Cat Lai port has proposed an action plan for this busiest container port in Vietnam with the goal of helping the port handle the expected increase in container volumes. This effort reaffirms our commitment to support the Vietnamese Government in facilitating trade and investment as well as enhancing the country's competitiveness,” Ann Marie Yatishock said.

According to project experts, about 4.9 million 20-foot containers are handled in Ho Chi Minh City each year, equivalent to about three million trucks, or more than 8,000 trucks per day passing in and around the city to loading and unloading containers from the port area. Furthermore, Cat Lai Port handles more than 92% of this volume and about 50% of the country's total container volume. Taking effective action to reduce congestion at the largest port in Vietnam will be a model for other ports to follow.

Presenting a number of limitations that need to be resolved in the near future at the port area of ​​Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Claudio, USAID TFP project manager, said that the goal of the project was to analyze and come up with solutions on mitigating the congestion at Cat Lai port. In fact, Cat Lai Port has exceeded the designed capacity of 2.5 million Teus, while in 2020, the capacity of Cat Lai has exceeded 5 million Teus; the wharf utilization rate is high, exceeding 90%, while this rate in the world is only about 70-80%.

Mr. Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy General Director, Saigon Newport Corporation said that, among 21 recommendations of the project, there were two related recommendations that Saigon Newport Corporation was very interested in implementing. They were recommendations on solutions for storing goods outside the port and applying information technology in services at the port.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy

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