Which are important international ports in Vietnam for ocean freight container shipments and what particularities are good to know?
Vietnam’s logistics sector is growing continuously. One reason for that is certainly the free trade agreement FTA which Vietnam signed with the European Union and the USA in 2016. The agreement includes abolishing certain customs duties and creating easier market access. This makes Vietnam an even more attractive production country for many companies.
But how about the port infrastructure? Do the existing facilities live up to the rising intercontinental container traffic Vietnam is facing?
Take for example transports between Europe and Vietnam – which ports are available in Northern, Mid, and South Vietnam? This article provides insights into important Vietnamese container ports for cargo traffic between Northern Europe and Vietnam.
Important international container ports in Northern Vietnam
In Northern Vietnam Hai Phong Port and Vung Ang Port are central gateways for international container traffic.
The Hai Phong Port is located in close proximity to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. It is the gateway for goods destined to or originating from surrounding industrial and production zones. Regarding container traffic between Germany/Northern Europe and Hai Phong, there are one to three port calls per week – depending on the carrier.
Located somewhat more South – halfway between Hai Phong Port and the Port of Da Nang in Mid-Vietnam – is the Vung Ang Port.
Neither Hai Phong nor Vung Ang is a deep water port. Hence, the giant ocean going container vessels which carriers use on trade lane Far East cannot directly call at these ports. For consignments with port of destination “Hai Phong” or “Vung Ang”, this means that transshipments are required. Transloading of containers often takes place in the port of Singapore or the port of Hong Kong. The containers are discharged from the ‘ultra large container vessel’ on the terminal and then reloaded onto a smaller container vessel, a so-called feedervessel. Which then will call at Hai Phong Port or Vung Ang Port.
Important international container ports in the central Vietnam region
In Mid-Vietnam the port of Da Nang and the Quy Nhon Port are important for international container traffic.
The Port of Da Nang is a deep water port. Hence, there are direct connections between this port and Europ, e.g..
The port of Quy Nhon is a useful gateway for goods destined to or coming from the Western hinterland of Vietnam as well as for goods for/from the Mekong Delta region. It is also frequently used for transloading of goods with final destination Cambodia.
Important international container ports in Southern Vietnam
The region around Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s economic center. Located in this region is the the Cai Mep-Thi Via Port. Cai Mep-Thi Vai (short Cai Mep) is part of Ho Chi Minh City’s port area, located approximately 80km South of the city itself. Cai Mep is an important gateway for goods to be shipped to or coming from Dong Nai and Binh Duong, two of Vietnam’s major production centers. As Cai Mep is a deep water port, there are direct connections for example to/from Northern European ports.
Cat Lai is another important container terminal in Ho Chi Minh City’s port area. It calls itself the biggest and most modern terminal in Vietnam. Cat Lai is frequently used for shipping containerized goods to/from the industrial production centers North of Ho Chi Minh City. Yet, Cat Lai is no deep water port. Thus, a transshipment e.g. via the port of Singapore is mandatory.
What is important if business is done under a letter of credit?
A letter of credit (L/C) states a binding port of discharge – and it states whether or not transshipment is allowed. Take an export business to Vietnam as an example: When you are planning to open a letter of credit for goods to be shipped to Vietnam via ocean freight, we recommend checking in advance, if the port you/your consignee would like to name in the L/C offers a direct connection with the port of loading named. If not, the L/C should allow for transshipment. Otherwise, the L/C cannot be fulfilled or has to be altered which causes additional costs.
A transshipment must be permitted in the letter of credit.
What’s ahead: Development of Vietnamese ports
Vietnam is eagerly working on developing its port infrastructure. Two new container terminals are planned to be constructed at Hai Phong Port. Completion was announced for 2018.
The Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in Northern Vietnam is currently under construction. Lach Huyen will be a deep water port. Completion for this construction project is also planned for 2018.
In Southern Vietnam, undertakings are under way for further development of the container section of Ho Chi Minh City’s port. Also, there are plans are to improve connections of the Mekong Delta to international ocean freight shipping routes.