According to the Maritime Department, the cargo handled at Cat Lai Port has been increasing relentlessly, going up from 47 million tonnes in 2016 to 56 million tonnes last year, causing traffic flows into the port also to rise.
Statistics from the HCM City Department of Transport show that this year 19,775 vehicles entered the port every day on average, an increase of 14% from last year.
But despite the port overload and traffic congestion, enterprises from Dong Nai and Long An provinces prefer to route their cargo through Cat Lai instead of other ports such as Hiep Phuoc (in Nha Be district) and Cai Mep – Thi Vai (in Ba Ria – Vung Tau).
The Maritime Department explained that at VND5 million per container, the cost at Cai Mep – Thi Vai is double that of Cat Lai.
Besides, agencies such as animal, plant and food quarantine and product quality examination have yet to open offices at Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port.
At Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port, there are few empty containers meaning importers need to transport them from HCM City, Binh Duong or Long An adding 50% to the transport cost.
Owners of shipping lines also choose Cat Lai because it has other advantages such as good location in terms of being closer to the source of cargo and government offices and good services at competitive prices.
Some four vessels leave Cai Mep – Thi Vai every week while 60-70 leave Cat Lai, offering more options to clients.
Due to various reasons, transportation costs are lower at Cat Lai than Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port, the Maritime Department said.
HCM City authorities consider the road leading to Cat Lai Port a traffic hot spot.
The Maritime Department has proposed banning transport of large volumes of cargo to and from the port by land and has instead proposed the use of inland waterways for the purpose.
Cargo from Dong Nai and Long An provinces and Hiep Phuoc (in HCM City’s District 9) should be transported to and from ports and inland container depots by inland waterways, it said.
Cargo to and from the Mekong Delta would also be transported from Cat Lai by inland waterways, it said.
The department wants the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to permanently station animal and plantation quarantine inspectors at the Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port.
The finance ministry has instructed the Vietnam Customs Bureau to install security screening equipment at Cat Lai Port.
It has instructed the Vietnam Customs Bureau and the HCM City and Ba Ria- Vung Tau customs departments to create favourable conditions for enterprises to unload their cargo at Cai Mep – Thi Vai, Hiep Phuoc and other ports in the region.
The Ministries of Transportation and Finance will cut tolls charged on National Highway No 51 for trucks and other vehicles transporting cargo between Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port and factories and industrial parks in Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces.
The Government has instructed the ministries to offer incentives to vessels of under 50,000DWT to attract them to Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port.
Nguyen Phuong Nam, manager of Cat Lai, said to ease the traffic on roads leading to the port, it had collaborated with the city transportation department and other relevant agencies to set up a team to effect measures to unclog them.
The team has also joined hands with the Customs Bureau to facilitate transport of cargo from Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau provinces to Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port.
Port authorities in Cai Mep – Thi Vai are also offering incentives such as reducing and waiving cargo handling fees and assisting with customs formalities to attract customers.