Vietnam mulls freight limit to steer shipping lines out of Ho Chi Minh City ports

Thanh Nien News

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An undated photo of trucks crowding a street that leads to Cat Lai Port in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
Vietnam's maritime authority has announced a plan to limit the amount of goods that can pass through ports in Ho Chi Minh City in an attempt to help divert some of the freight to a giant seaport nearby which has been mostly avoided by shipping lines. 
The plan will be submitted to the transport ministry and then the National Assembly for approval, news website Saigon Times Online reported, citing Bui Thien Thu, deputy chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration. 
Thu said the transport ministry has been trying to encourage shipping lines to move to Cai Mep-Thi Vai, a deep-river port complex in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Despite fee discounts, the number of arriving ships has been much lower than expectations, he said. 
The port complex which costs VND40 trillion (US$1.75 billion) consists of seven ports. It has been been operating at just 15 percent of its designed capacity since its opening in 2009, the official said. 
The plan, if approved, will also help reduce congestion at Ho Chi Minh City seaports, particularly Cat Lai in District 2, he said.
The Vietnamese maritime agency's reasons for the restriction came from the success Thailand has apparently enjoyed after introducing the similar policy with its old Bangkok Port and the new Laem Chabang Port, according to the news report.

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