Economy: Logistics – key to improving Mekong Delta’s competitiveness

(VOV) - The Mekong Delta’s transport infrastructure and logistics system have recently received large investments by the state and regional provinces to speed the delivery of cargo to points of consumption and boo the competitiveness of the region’s products.

The Mekong Delta hopes to expand its role as one of Vietnam’s key hubs in agricultural and aquatic production. Its biggest current difficulty is a shortage of infrastructure, and transportation networks linking waterways, which are one of the region’s greatest advantages.

The region contributes 60% of Vietnam’s total seafood exports and more than 90% of Vietnam’s total rice shipments, so creating a regional logistics center has become an urgent concern.

Le Duy Hiep, vice chairman of the Vietnam Logistics Business Association, said that such a center would relieve the burden on road networks linking production areas and markets, leading to reduced transport costs, better goods quality, and more manageable risk.

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With 700 kilometers of coastline, the Mekong Delta has a great potential to develop seaports, river ports, and a system of canals and wharfs.

Hiep said the current globalization trend requires the creation of a supply chain backed by logistics services and transportation to link countries and regions, and boost economic growth.

Hiep explained, “We want to attract logistics companies to invest in the southwest. The regional authorities should promulgate policies, solutions, and mechanisms to attract these firms. What we mean here is not simply investment attraction, but an infrastructure master-plan for logistics services. We know that this will require great involvement by the association. We need to persuade shipping lines to launch these services in the region.”

As part of the development plan for national logistics centers by 2020, Vietnam will have 18 logistics centers, including three first-class and 15 second-class facilities.

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The Mekong Delta alone will have two second-class logistics centers, including one covering at least 20 hectares by 2020 and one on 50 ha by 2030.

Tran Khanh Hoang, the deputy director general of SaiGon Newport Corporation, said, “We have a plan to turn Cai Nui port into the Mekong Delta’s central port through which other ports in the region will transport goods to large-capacity vessels in Cai Mep - Thi Vai Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and to Ho Chi Minh City.”