HANOI -- Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the state-owned marine transporter known as Vinalines, won approval recently to build two large container terminals at a northern port in a 7 trillion dong ($302 million) project.
The Vinalines project will roughly double the docking space at Lach Huyen International Gateway Port, off the coastal city of Haiphong, adding to the pair of megaterminals that opened there in May. The four installations will support the surge of production capacity being relocated from China, where labor costs are rising.
Local media reports cite Hanoi's approval of the Vinalines proposal. The combined length of the two planned terminals will be 750 meters, enough to accommodate large containerships. No timeline for completion has been disclosed.
The Vinalines terminals will complement those run by a consortium consisting of Vietnam's biggest port operator, Saigon Newport; Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines; Taiwan's Wan Hai Lines; and Japanese trading house Itochu. Robust economic conditions have driven growing traffic of large vessels at the facilities.
The terminals will serve northern Vietnam, which is transforming into a manufacturing hub. South Korea's Samsung Electronics operates smartphone factories in the north, and the plants have cultivated the growth of a local supply chain.
As the U.S. escalates the trade brinkmanship with China, manufacturers are shifting production equipment out of the mainland and into Vietnam. "This trend will continue for the time being," said an executive at a Japanese logistics company operating in Vietnam.
Prior to Lach Huyen's debut, Haiphong's port could accept only small vessels due to shallow waters. The small ships transported goods to Hong Kong or other places where they would be loaded into giant container vessels. Lach Huyen makes possible direct routes from northern Vietnam to the U.S. and Europe.