Shipping community in Vietnam sees opportunities for recovery in 2012

2012 03 06

VIETNAM's shipping firms are expected to face difficulties in the year due to global economic uncertainties and the oversupply of vessel tonnage.

A report by VietNamNet Bridge highlighted that shipping fees for importing and exporting goods are likely to increase significantly with some of the rate hikes for transporting goods to Europe and Africa due to commence this month.

Several shipping lines have indicated that rats would be doubled from the current rate to US$700 per TEU. The new fees for imports from some ports in Europe have been implemented since mid-February with rises of between $200 and $300 per TEU, according to the report.

But Vietnam Ship Owners' Association chairman Do Xuan Quynh said this year's shipping fees for transporting sea freight via domestic and international routes would not see big changes.

Mr Quynh said he was surprised by the news regarding a fee hike, adding that the downwards trend is still dominating the container shipping market. As global trade has been decreasing, the issue of idling containerships is becoming more serious, especially when it involves larger vessels.

It is estimated that the number of idle containerships waiting for deployment has reached 700, including many ships in the 3,000-TEU class.

Mr Quynh added that if shipping fees are raised, only foreign shipowners would stand to benefit, and not the Vietnamese shipping companies.

A report from the Vietnam Maritime Bureau showed that out of the 1,633 ships carrying the Vietnamese flag, 1,013 ships, totalling three million deadweight tons, serve domestic routes. Most are bulk carriers with tonnage of less than 5,000 tons. There are 38 containerships, but only two of can handle more than 1,000 TEU.

"We have excessive tonnage for the small ships, while we lack specialised and big tonnage ships," said Nguyen Ngoc Hue, former head of the Maritime Bureau.

Zhaoyin port area is formerly Zhangzhou port. The port merged with Xiamen in 2006.

Since the merger, the port area's throughput has been rising rapidly. It lifted six million tonnes in 2005 and 13 million tons in 2008. Last year, its throughput topped 19 million tons.

The port area started building the two new berth in May 2010. The whole project has now come to the final phase.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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