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|Containers are gathered at Dinh Vu Port in Hai Phong City. - VNA/VNS Photo Lam Khanh|
According to the report issued by the Viet Nam Maritime Administration, by the end of May, nearly 28,000 containers were stuck at seaports, including nearly 6,800 containers in Hai Phong City ports, 14,600 in HCM City and about 6,500 in Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province.
The main causes, the administration supposes, are changes in international trade policies which create uncertainties in the market forecast.
China, for example, announced to stop importing 24 types of used and recyclable materials from January, 2018. The huge amount of those goods has to find its own way to other Asian countries including Vietnam.
Those containers usually contain wire cables, used machines, fertilisers, agricultural products, textile materials and used aluminum.
The Vietnam News Agency cited logistics companies saying that a huge volume of used plastics and paper will continue pouring into Vietnamese seaports in the near future as shipping contracts have been signed and goods are already on their way to the country.
This is predicted to create a severe threat to the environment as well as a huge financial burden on the State budget to destroy the waste. It will also cause congestion at seaports in Vietnam.
“Enterprises will be forced to move containers from one place to another frequently, and in the worst scenario, they will have to move the containers to inland container depots (ICDs). If this occurs, it will cost more to port owners, customers and shipping companies,” said Nguyen Xuan Sang, director general of the Viet Nam Maritime Administration.
Recently, customs departments of cities and provinces have tasked their sub-agencies to tighten management over goods containers.
“Owners of those containers are responsible for presenting the necessary documents at the ports to receive their goods. Inspections are also being conducted to detect and handle any legal violations.
"In case a container has been kept in the port for more than 90 days, the port authorities can have the container opened to destroy environmentally harmful goods,” Sang added.
To restrict the transport of used goods to Vietnam’s ports, Sang recommended enterprises adopt their own protective barriers, taking Tan Cang Sai Gon Port Company for example. The company announced to only unload goods when its customer could present valid and authorised import permits with the written commitment on specific time of receipt. From June 1 to September 30, 2018, the Tan Cang Sai Gon Port will not allow any used plastic goods to go through the port.
Moreover, the administration asked for the collaboration of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to come up with solutions to counter container stagnation.
Responding to the demand, the MoT asked the MoF to help free containers stuck at seaports to prevent cargos from piling up as soon as possible.