Norwegian solar companies seek cooperation opportunity in Vietnam
A group of Norway’s leading solar companies attended a Norwegian Solar Seminar in Hanoi on October 15 to look for cooperation opportunities with local partners in the solar energy sector.
The event is co-organized by Royal Norwegian Embassy and Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 1 (PECC1), under the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) with the attendance of Norweiginan Ambassador designate, Ms Grete Lochen, Commercial Counsellor Mr Harald Naevdal, General Director of EVN PECC1 Mr Pham Nguyen Hung, representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and over 70 participants from the EVN and its subsidiaries, independent power plant owners, construction companies, private investors from Vietnam and Laos, suppliers and consultants and other stakeholders.
At the seminar, an energy consultant of the World Bank presents an overview of Vietnam’s solar energy, highlighting the achievements of Vietnam’s solar energy sector as well as its development perspectives.
As Norway is among the leading countries in research and development for solar energy, speakers from the Norwegian companies share with the Vietnamese counterparts and guests Norway’s most advanced energy solutions including solar power, in particular the efficient, low cost and durable solutions for floating solar.
Despite being a relatively new industry, it has seen impressive progress. The technology is based on modified silicon solar modules deployed on special floating structures. This technology is particularly useful for the agriculture-based countries where land might be a big constraint for the solar power projects.
“The Vietnamese market potential is huge. There are vast areas of rivers and lakes as well as the existing hydropower reservoirs that can be lined with our floating solar solutions. This means solar PV can be built out on a massive scale without impacting farmland and local ecosystem,” said Director Asia of Ocean Sun Mr Are Gloersen.
Vietnam solar energy sector is sparked by the issuance of the new solar feed-in tariff (FIT) and the standard Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in 2017. According to Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade, 8,000MW of utility scale solar power projects have been added in the National Master Plan for Power Development, another 10,000 MW are in the waiting list.
“Therefore, the Norwegian companies are eager to look for opportunities to cooperate, invest in and develop solar projects with the Vietnamese counterparts. I hope in the near future, our businesses can connect and untap the potential of our bilateral cooperation in this sector,” said Norway’s Ambassador designate Grete Lochen in her welcoming remarks.
This seminar marks the beginning of the one-week mission of the Norwegian companies. During this trip, they are planning to meet with local businesses, concerned agencies as well as potential investors in Vietnam. The mission includes representatives from Ocean Sun, Norfund, Multiconsult, DNVGL and Scatec Solar.
What is behind PVcomBank’s seizure of Tokyu Tower?
There is light at the end of the tunnel for apartment buyers at Tokyu Tower, which has just been seized by commercial lender PVcomBank in an attempt to tackle bad debts.
Few days ago, Vietnam People’s Bank (PVcomBank) seized Tokyu Tower, a secured asset, to handle the financial obligations of the project developer Song Da 1.01 JSC and its exclusive distributor Hoang Vuong Trading JSC.
According to PVcomBank, all remaining assets of the project have been seized, including the right to collect from apartment sales contracts and the trading centre floor, the apartments, and commercial center floor that have not yet been sold or leased.
At the same time, PVcomBank also seized all property rights arising from the apartment purchase and sales contracts between Hoang Vuong Trading Company and Song Da 1.01 Joint Stock Company.
Tokyu Tower is a multi-purpose building and high-end apartment complex with 51 storeys, including five floors for a commercial centre.
During project implementation, the project developer Song Da 1.01 Joint Stock Company and its exclusive distributor Hoang Vuong Trading JSC had defaulted on debts to PVcomBank, which they secured by Tokyu Tower.
According to PVcomBank, the original debt of Song Da 1.01 JSC and Hoang Vuong JSC totalled nearly VND600 billion ($26.5 million).
A PVcomBank representative said that they will select a suitable investor to resume the project and ensure the legitimate rights of apartment buyers following the signed contracts.
At a recent meeting with buyers at the project, Mai Xuan Thuong, director of Assets Management at PVcomBank said the assets seized by the bank at Tokyu Tower were not the assets that the customers had bought from the project developer.
Therefore, the buyers still hold ownership rights as prescribed by law.
However, given the fact that the developer now has no capacity to further implement the project, the best option would be for PVcomBank to select a new investor to resume the construction and finish the project to handover the apartments to buyers.
A PVcomBank representative said that they will select a suitable investor to resume the project and ensure the legitimate rights of apartment buyers following the signed contracts.
The source also confirmed that the bank and the new investor will keep in touch with apartment buyers until the project is finished and expect the right attitude from buyers to find the best remedy together, allowing customers to soon receive their apartments.
To tackle the impediments from the project’s delay, PVcombank said that they will offer support to customers who took up loans at the bank to buy apartments at Tokyu Tower by providing exemption or reduction of late payment penalties.
The policy on the reduction/exemption of late payment penalties will follow current legislation and central bank guidance.
Tokyu Tower has been renamed many times. Previously it was called Vinafor Apartment or Landmark 51, which was introduced by the investor as the tallest building in Hanoi’s Hadong district and the third tallest building in Hanoi after Landmark 72 and Lotte Centre.
Tokyu Tower is a joint project between Vietnam Forestry Corporation (Vinafor) and Song Da 1.01 JSC.
Earlier, in August 2017, state-owned Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), dubbed as the bad debts bank, conducted its first confiscation of an asset mortgaged for a non-performing loan based on a newly-issued National Assembly resolution.
The mortgaged asset was the Saigon M&C high-rise building project in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 which belonged to Saigon One Tower JSC (formerly Saigon M&C Real Estate JSC).
According to an SBV statement published on its website, the confiscation was aimed to settle and recover the debt in accordance with regulations stated in the newly-released Resolution 42/2017/QH14 which was designed to quickly settle bad debts and mortgaged assets for bad debts.
VAMC expected that the seizure of the asset would contribute to the implementation of Resolution 42 and serve as a warning to bad debt holders to repay VAMC and credit institutions on time.
Mobile World boss stands to win $90 million on new dividend plan
Applying the new dividend rate of 3:1, Mobile World chairman Nguyen Duc Tai, who owns nearly 46.9 million MWG shares, will receive additional shares worth $90 million.
Mobile World Investment Corporation has just approved the new dividend rate for its current shareholders
Mobile World Investment Corporation has just approved the new dividend rate for its current shareholders. Accordingly, the number of stakes issued is estimated at 108 million, with the dividend rate of 3:1, which means that each stakeholder owning will receive one share after every three they own. The newly issued shares will be instantly transferrable and the dividend will be covered from Mobile World’s after-tax profit as of the end of 2017.
According to its financial report published in late 2017, Mobile World’s total profit (without distribution) was nearly VND2.7 trillion ($119.47 million). The time to share dividends is in October and November this year, after receiving approval from the State Securities Commission (SSC). Currently, MWG’s stakes are worth more than VND130,000 ($5.75), up nearly 30 per cent against last month.
Holding 8.2 million stakes, Mobile World chairman Nguyen Duc Tai is the firm’s largest individual shareholder. According to the dividend plan, Tai will receive 2.7 million more shares worth VND351 billion ($15.53 million).
In addition to directly holding the stakes, Tai, via his wholly owned firm Retail World Investment Consultant Limited Company, indirectly holds 38.6 million more MWG stakes. Thus, Tai will receive 15.6 million shares worth VND2.02 trillion ($89.7 million).
With the total assets of over VND6 trillion ($265.48 million), Tai is currently one of 10 richest people on the Vietnamese Stock Exchange.
Its latest report stated that Mobile World recorded VND58.667 trillion ($2.6 billion) in net sales over the past eight months and VND1.969 trillion ($87.1 million) in after tax profit, which are up 39 and 36 per cent year-on-year.
Hanoi apartment supply at 27,380 units at end-Q3
As at the end of the third quarter of 2018, total primary supply in Hanoi’s apartment market was 27,380 units and inventory nearly 21,000 units, according to Savills’ quarterly report released on October 10.
Associate Director of Research Advisory Services at Savills Hanoi, Ms. Do Thu Hang, said that with Grade B apartments representing most supply, inventory in Grade B is high and the market needs to adjust.
“With the volume of products being plentiful, supply of apartments in the fourth quarter of 2018 will not be substantial,” she said. “In projects still under construction, developers need to figure out how to attract buyers and extend the completion schedule to increase the absorption rate.”
The report noted that 13 new projects and the next phases of 18 projects provided 6,910 units, down 29 per cent quarter-on-quarter but up 12 per cent year-on-year.
Sales were down 16 per cent quarter-on-quarter but up 11 per cent year-on-year. The absorption rate fell 4 ppts quarter-on-quarter and 1 ppt year-on-year, to 24 per cent.
The average asking price was $1,330 per sq m, up 6 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 5 per cent year-on-year. Grade B continued to dominate, with 60 per cent of stock, followed by Grade C with 33 per cent.
In the last quarter of the year, more than 4,500 units will enter from eleven projects, mostly Grade B. “Market expectations may remain stable until the end of the year but may not be better than last year.”
Meanwhile, in Ho Chi Minh City, 14 new projects and ten launches of new phases provided over 7,700 units in the third quarter. Primary supply fell 26 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 47 per cent year-on-year to 18,800 units.
There were over 10,000 sales, down 30 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 13 per cent year-on-year. Absorption was 53 per cent, down 3ppts quarter-on-quarter but up 21 ppts year-on-year.
Grade C continued to dominate with a 54 per cent market share. Grade A sales increased 58 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
To 2020, supply is expected to be approximately 124,000 units from 94 projects. District 9 is expected to have the largest share, at 32 per cent.
The failure of high yield
High productivity is generally deemed a desirable achievement, but for Vietnamese farmers, such an outcome poses risks, which under many circumstances can turn out to be a painful failure. That proves right for the dragon fruit these days, when the farm produce price takes nosedive, resulting in huge losses for farmers and prompting calls of rescue from all walks of life, as seen in local media.
Within weeks, the price has taken a sharp plunge, from around VND20,000 a kilo in late September in the south-central province of Binh Thuan, which is the country’s key dragon fruit growing province, to a mere VND1,000 a kilo, meaning a free fall of 95%. Worse still, much of the fruit finds no buyers these days, and is simply dumped as manure as even cattle like cows are fed up with the fruit.
The local market is awash with dragon fruit, from growing areas like Binh Thuan, Tien Giang, Long An and Ba Ria-Vung Tau to localities with high purchasing power like Hanoi and HCMC. As traders are overwhelmed with the bumper crop, farmers cannot sell their output and many have simply chopped down the fruit. The oversupply is excessive, say local media.
Binh Thuan Province alone, with 27,000 hectares under dragon fruit cultivation, produces some 600,000 tons of the fruit a year, with 80% for export to China, according to Dai Doan Ket. Long An in the Mekong Delta has some 10,000 hectares of dragon fruit, while its neighboring province of Tien Giang also grows 7,000 hectares. To aggravate the market glut, farmers in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have also engaged themselves in growing dragon fruit, with hundreds of hectares. The race to grow dragon fruit among various provinces has made Vietnam the top producer of the fruit in the world, while other countries like China and Cambodia have also started growing the fruit.
To make the matter worse, the output has surged compared to that in the corresponding period of last year, as farmers have applied various technical measures to boost yield, says Tien Phong. “Around this time last year, the fruit sold for over VND20,000 a kilo, so farmers this year started cultivating the fruit en mass to cash in on the high price, resulting in oversupply,” the paper quoted Phan Van Tan, deputy director of Binh Thuan’s Department of Agriculture, as saying.
Consumption, on the other hand has been normal, including shipments to China.
Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under the agriculture ministry, says in Nguoi Lao Dong after a fact-finding trip to Lao Cai near the border with China that transport of the fruit to China remains active as usual. “Each day, some 13,000 tons of dragon fruit is transported to China via border gates,” Trung asserts in the paper.
Similarly, Thanh Nien cites another agriculture official to reject rumors that China has stopped importing the fruit, reporting that in one morning, he witnessed as many as 300 container trucks crossing Kim Thanh Bordergate in Lao Cai to China, each transporting 20 to 25 tons.
Therefore, the main culprit is the excessive yield of the fruit this year. In Binh Thuan alone, the local agriculture department estimates output this year increases by 51,700 tons against last year, says Tien Phong. And rescue efforts, as usual, also speed up.
In local media as well as social media, there are innumerable calls to farmers’ rescue, while enterprises have also stepped in to assist farmers.
Lotte Mart, for example, is buying dragon fruit from farmers at some VND5,000 to VND7,000 a kilo and selling the fruit at its supermarket at no profit, says Phap Luat Online. Similarly, Saigon Co.op as the country’s biggest retailer network is joining the campaign to buy dragon fruit for sales at hundreds of its stores nationwide, says Dai Doan Ket. Hundreds of individuals in the country, especially in major cities, have also lent a helping hand, calling on their relatives or friends to buy dragon fruit to buoy up the sagging price.
But, according to local media, coming to farmers’ rescue is not the right approach, given the high frequency of such charity-like campaigns over the years.
Hanoi-based media outlet An Ninh Thu Do gives a long list of rescue campaigns in the recent past, saying another remedial solution is needed if such chaotic production and consumption is to be avoided in the future.
The most striking rescue campaign took place last year when the entire society rolled up their sleeves to help pig farmers, since as many as three million pig-rearing households countrywide were hit by the greatest ever price crisis in 2016-17. In late 2016, the price of live pig tumbled to some VND25,000 a kilo from around VND40,000 a kilo earlier, compared to the rearing cost of some VND37,000. The crisis deepened into 2017, when prices fell further to VND15,000-17,000 a kilo. In Hanoi City alone, pig farmers incurred a combined loss of VND1,500 billion, the paper reports, citing data from Hanoi City’s Department of Agriculture.
Other recent rescue campaigns relate to onion in 2015, banana in early 2016, potato and radish last year, and watermelon in May this year, according to the paper.
Back to the dragon fruit rescue program this time, experts point out that the vicious cycle of high yield versus sagging price has repeated time and again in the recent past, and both farmers and State agencies should be blamed for the mishap.
Farmers pursue profit, and when the dragon fruit fetches high price, there is no way to ban them from cultivating the crop. A farmer named Tran Quan Hai in Ba Ria-Vung Tau says when the fruit sells for VND25,000 a kilo, it beats all other crops in terms of profit. And farmers rush to growing the crop, totally blindfolded as they have no market information.
“Farmers cannot calculate market supply and demand. Whenever a farmer gains a hefty profit, ten others will follow suit,” Hai is quoted as saying in vov.vn, the news website of the Voice of Vietnam radio.
In this respect, it is apparent that relevant State agencies have failed in their duties to keep farmers abreast of market developments.
Vo Mai, vice president of Vietnam Gardening Association, says that a radical solution to farm produce oversupply in general and the glut of dragon fruit in particular must start with the Government. Relevant State agencies must introduce new changes to agricultural production processes, from market forecasting to planning and production, according to Phap Luat Online.
Such State duties have failed, says Nguyen Duc Thanh, president of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research. “The ministries of Industry and Trade, and Agriculture fail to develop an alert system to supply prompt and efficient market information for production areas,” he is quoted in Phap Luat Online as saying.
Therefore, in the painful failure of high yield, the blame not only rests with farmers, but the two ministries as well, Thanh asserts.
Qatar Airways to open direct flights to Da Nang in December
Qatar Airways has announced it will launch direct flights to the central city of Da Nang on December 19.
With this route, the beautiful coastal city will become the third Vietnamese destination on the award-winning airline’s rapidly expanding global network.
The carrier will offer four-time weekly flights with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said “This new direct route demonstrates our commitment to expanding our presence in the Far East, a highly-important market for Qatar Airways.”
Qatar Airways began direct services to HCM City in 2007, and launched its Hanoi service in 2010. Currently, the airline provides twice-daily direct flights to Vietnam’s capital city and 10 times weekly flights to HCM City.
In October 2017, Qatar Airways announced its interline partnership with Vietnamese low-cost airline Vietjet Air, allowing Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel to and from points in Vietnam not served directly by Qatar Airways using a single reservation across both airlines’ networks.
Da Nang expects the new air route will help promote trade, investment and tourism between the central region and the Middle East.
The number of travellers to the city has been increasing each year, with an average annual growth of 20.06 percent between 2013 and 2017.
It hosted 6.6 million tourists, including 1.67 million foreigners, last year. The figure was more than 4 million visitors in the first half of 2018, surging by almost 30 percent year-on-year. Notably, vacationers from the Republic of Korea shot up by 100 percent to account for half of the over 1.6 million foreign arrivals in the city during the period.
Da Nang is a popular tourist destination in central Vietnam. The online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb announced a list of the world’s top 10 destinations for 2018, in which the city ranked fifth in booking surges of up to 255 percent.
Additionally, the Da Nang International Airport was ranked third amongst the top global airports in 2014, according to a survey by Dragon Air.
Japanese seafood processing plant built in Binh Dinh
Japan’s Binh Dinh Evertrust firm began construction on a seafood processing and preservation plant, the first of its kind in the Nhon Hoi economic zone in Quy Nhon city, in the central province of Binh Dinh on October 10.
Costing nearly 8 million USD, the plant sits on a site of 5ha and is designed to process and preserve 2,000 tonnes of aquatic products each year. It will also offer services including hot baths, Japanese cuisine and cultural products for visitors.
The first stage of the project is scheduled to be put into operation by mid-2019.
General Director of Evertrust Kosaburo Kimura expressed his wish to turn the plant into a source of tuna for both domestic and foreign supplies so that more consumers can access Vietnamese tuna.
Permanent Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Cao Thang said the project will contribute to improving the capacity of seafood processing, which is a strength of Binh Dinh, as well as diversifying tourist services and generating more jobs.
Credit institutions expect improved business performance in 2018
A majority of credit institutions expect business performance this year will be better than 2017, according to the latest survey conducted by the State Bank of Vietnam on business trend among credit institutions in September.
84.2 percent of participants predict an overall improvement in their business performance in 2018, with 23 – 30.5 percent expecting “much improvement”.
Around 88 percent of credit institutions expect to have a higher pre-tax profit in 2018 compared to 2017, and only 5.3 percent predict the figure would stay the same, while 6.4 percent are concerned over a decline in profit.
Meanwhile, the average profit growth of the banking system is predicted to increase 18.63 percent year-on-year in 2018, lower than the expectation of 19.05 percent recorded in a survey three months ago, but much higher than the rate of 13.63 percent of the same period last year.
Liquidity of the banking system continues to improve, and it remains in a good state for both foreign and domestic currencies, which is expected to be extended in the upcoming quarter and for the whole year.
According to the survey, most credit institutions witnessed positive growth rate in their business results in the third quarter, albeit at a lower rate compared to the previous one.
The survey also showed that 72.6 percent of credit institutions saw improvement in their business performances in the third quarter compared to the previous one, in which 15.8 percent reported “much improvement”.
Moreover, on the back of stable interest rates, the mobilizing capital of the whole system is expected to increase by 5.83 percent on average in the fourth quarter (higher than the actual and expected rate of the same period in 2017) and 15.34 percen for 2018 (higher than the actual rate of 14.98 percent but lower than the expected rate of 16 percent for 2017).
Credit institutions expect outstanding loans of the banking system to grow by 4.52 percent in the fourth quarter, and up 15.22 percent for the entire year.
Dong Nai opens 7-million-USD food processing factory
A food processing factory worth 7 million USD was opened in Trang Bom district, the southern province of Dong Nai, on October 10.
The factory, covering 6 hectares in Trung Hoa commune, was built under a partnership between the GreenFeed Vietnam JSC and Dong Nai Food Industrial Corporation (DOFICO).
It is equipped with pig and chicken slaughtering lines and a European-standard food production system.
With technologies imported from Germany and Denmark, it can slaughter 250,000 – 300,000 pigs and 6 – 9 million chickens a year to produce about 19,000 tonnes of pork and 10,000 – 13,000 tonnes of chicken meat.
This plant is also set to manufacture about 3 – 5 tonnes of processed meat products daily.
An executive of DOFICO said the inauguration of the factory has created a complete production chain from animal food production, farming, slaughtering to food processing and distribution. It will help ensure consumption for the animal husbandry sector in Dong Nai and neighbouring provinces.
Dong Nai is one of the biggest husbandry centres of Vietnam. It is part of the southern key economic region, which also includes Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang.
Phu Tho looks to promote local specialties as souvenirs for tourists
The northern mid-land province of Phu Tho is striving to develop and promote local specialties as part of its moves to develop tourism, given most tourists’ wish to buy typical products of localities they have visited as souvenirs.
In order to get visitors to buy, products should be appealing to them through typical local characteristics, the use local ingredients and attractive packaging. In particular, they must be useful in daily life and have good quality.
Many specialties and products bearing typically Phu Tho’s trait are popular among visitors, such as reproductions of bronze drums, local tea, rice wine of Xuan Son, gold-plated goods from Hoang Phuc, aloes wood of Phuc Minh, cinnamon essence oil of Yen Lap, “che lam” of the area around Hung King Temple, Doan Hung pomelo or palm-leaf conical hat of Gia Thanh. However, due to poor advertisement and promotion, sales of them remain limited.
Phu Tho is yet to have any large-scale commercial centres offering local products as souvenirs for visitors. Along the Noi Bai-Lao Cai highway and National Highway No2, there are several rest stops on sections that run through the province, but few typical products of Phu Tho are available. At tourism sites, most souvenir shops are run by household businesses, with most goods on sale brought in from other localities or China.
The Phu Tho-based Hung Vuong University has conducted a research project on designing souvenirs bearing typical characteristics of the land of the Hung King to serve tourism development in the province. The research team has collected symbols of the Hung Vuong civilisation and used them on local products such as ceramic vases, cups and plates, gold and silver jewellery, comic strips, and silk clothes and scarves.
Those products were introduced on the occasions of the Hung King Temple festivals during 2015-2018 and received positive response, but as they were only made on an experimental basis, the volume of available goods was small.
According to director of the province’s tourism information promotion centre Phung Thi Hoa Le, the local tourism sector will focus on several measures to encourage the production and marketing of local specialties and goods as souvenirs. For examples, local authorities and sectors will give incentives to craft villages to make designated products using local labour, and improve packaging designs and product quality.
The provincial authorities will call for investment in facilities selling local products and souvenirs at tourism sites, thus facilitating visitors’ access and purchase of Phu Tho’s specialties. Relevant agencies will engage in connecting trading firms and producers to boost sales.
Phu Tho authorities will also provide support for trading companies, craft villages and cooperatives in training and experience sharing in marketing, thus enhancing product distribution work.
Local craft villages will be assisted to participate in trade and tourism fairs both inside and outside the province, thus expanding the market for local products.
Recently, tours to craft villages in Phu Tho province have attracted many international and domestic tourists, which also helped with the sale of the villages’ products. Therefore, more such tours should be organised in the future.
In addition, Phu Tho will organise several festivals annually in association with areas producing its key farm produce such as tea and Doan Hung pomelo, in order to promote those local brands and attract investors.
The provincial administration also has plans to organise a contest on designing Phu Tho’s souvenirs. The contest will be open to businesses, craft villages, cooperatives and production establishments, as well as individuals.
Products selected in the contest will be displayed and sold at the annual Hung King Temple festival, which is one of the biggest festivals of the year. Millions of visitors flock to the festival each year to pay tribute to the founders of the nation.
New internal water cargo route to be built in central city
The central city of Da Nang plans to build an internal water route and pier system to transport cargo between Tien Sa and Lien Chieu ports and ease congestion on National Highway 14B caused by commercial cargo.
According to General Director of the Da Nang Port Joint Stock Company Nguyen Huu Sia, the project will be built with total investment of 300 billion VND (13.3 million USD) and will be operational in the second quarter of 2020.
Sia said the internal water route will reduce the number of containers in Tien Sa Port that need to be transported on National Highway 14B by 20 percent.
He said the route will be open to ships and barges under 5,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) from ports in Quang Ngai, Quang Binh and Quang Nam and north-south cargo shipment services.
“We plan to build a customs clearance and logistics service in Lien Chieu district to receive and process cargo from neighbouring ports. It will be shipped by freighter to Tien Sa Port to be loaded on cargo ships,” Sia said.
“This route will limit the amount of bulky cargo that is transported via roadways and causes serious traffic accidents and congestion,” he said. “National Highway 14B, which connects Tien Sa Port, the Central Highlands region and National Highway No 1 and the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway, is very busy but measures like this one can help.”
Construction will start on the route in the second quarter of 2019.
Last year, the Tien Sa Port Company invested more than 44.2 million USD, 36 percent of which was sourced from its own capital, to add two piers to Tien Sa Port so it can handle 12 million tonnes of cargo per year.
The newly upgraded port can accommodate ships up to 70,000DWT or 4,000 twenty-foot container units (TEU), and cruise ships up to 150 gross tonnage (GT).
The port hosted eight million tonnes of cargo in 2017.
Recently, Da Nang proposed the Ministry of Transport speed up construction on the first stage of Lien Chieu Port so it can be ready to go into operation in 2022.
The Lien Chieu port project is of importance for Da Nang in terms of infrastructure, socio-economic development and security-defence. After Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed in principle to the project in November 2016, the Da Nang People’s Committee conducted a pre-feasibility study for the project and submitted it to the Ministry of Transport, which later submitted its assessment of the study to the Prime Minister in May this year.
Da Nang authorities have completed dossiers for the project’s pre-feasibility research report.
Statistics show with the annual growth of throughput at 16.2 percent, Da Nang’s ports will have to handle around 10 million tonnes of cargo by 2020 and 30 million tonnes by 2030, which will surpass the capacity of Tien Sa port after 2020 and overwhelm the transport infrastructure in the area, causing traffic jams and accidents as well as environmental pollution, thus affecting the city’s tourism development.
Recently, the traffic flow of trucks and container trucks from Tien Sa port going through the Yet Kieu-Ngo Quyen-Ngu Hanh Son has surged, causing several serious accidents, hence the urgent need for the early construction of Lien Chieu port.
Under Da Nang’s project on developing sea-based economy by 2025 with vision to 2030, the city will focus resources on developing maritime transport. Accordingly, Tien Sa port will be reserved to serve cruise ships and Lien Chieu is set to become the major cargo port in the city.
Quang Ninh: Breakthroughs to drive infrastructure development
Playing an important role in the Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh economic triangle and serving as a gateway for trade between Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh has been making several breakthroughs to develop local transport infrastructure and meet the burgeoning economic growth.
According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long, it would take the province 10 years to complete its comprehensive, modern transport infrastructure if it only relied on State allocation and local budget. However, Quang Ninh has made a quantum leap with various measures taken to lure private investment.
Thanks to concerted efforts to improve the business climate, within three years, the locality secured 36 trillion VND (1.53 billion USD) in transport projects, three quarters of which were mobilised from the private sector. A line-up of investors have come to the province to branch out key transport projects under build-transfer (BT), build-operate-transfer (BOT), and public-private partnership (PPP) contracts.
The 474.4-million-USD Van Don-Mong Cai highway project will be developed under a BOT and PPP contract inked between the provincial People’s Committee, the joint venture of Long Van Infrastructure Investment and Development Co.,Ltd, Van Don Sun JSC, and Cong Thanh Transportation and Construction Corporation. The joint venture will invest more than 1.26 trillion VND (54.3 million USD) and mobilise nearly 9.86 trillion VND (425.24 million USD) for the project.
The 80.2km Van Don-Mong Cai highway will have four lanes and is designed for an average speed of 100km/hr. It will run through the districts of Van Don, Tien Yen, Dam Ha, and Hai Ha, as well as Mong Cai city.
Construction is scheduled to kick off sometime this year and be completed within 22 months. Fees will be collected for 20 years on the way.
The Van Don-Mong Cai highway is among the three key transport projects of 2018 announced by the province earlier this year. The other two are the Ha Long-Cam Pha coastal road and an undersea tunnel through Cua Luc Bay (the gateway to Ha Long Bay).
The 27km coastal road linking Ha Long to Cam Pha is implemented under the BT form, with a total investment of 5.6 trillion VND (246.4 million USD). Construction of the road, invested in by Vingroup, began at the end of June this year. Once completed, the road is expected to help ease traffic on the section of National Highway 18A that runs through Cam Pha city, while also forming a modern and comprehensive transport network connecting urban areas in the province.
Meanwhile, the 1.3km undersea tunnel project in Ha Long city is estimated to cost 7.875 trillion VND (346.5 million USD) under a BT contract. It will start at the intersection that leads into Sun World Ha Long Park (Bai Chay Ward) and end at the intersection in Hong Gai Ward – considered as the “main axes” on each side of Cua Luc Bay.
The tunnel is expected to help connect transport along the coastal roads of Ha Long city.
Together with other local transport projects such as the Hai Phong-Ha Long and Ha Long-Van Don highways, as well as upgrades to National Highway 18, key projects are hoped to improve the province’s transport infrastructure system, thus contributing to local socio-economic development and promoting local tourism and increasing the potential of border and marine economies.
In addition, the Bach Dang bridge connecting the northern port city of Hai Phong and Quang Ninh was put into operation in early September. It helps shorten the distance from Hanoi to Quang Ninh from 175km to 125km, thus cutting the travel time between the two localities.
Furthermore, the Van Don International Airport, invested at a total cost of nearly 7.5 trillion VND (319.47 million USD), has stayed in the limelight of the local infrastructure system. This is the very first airport project in Vietnam to apply the BOT investment model.
Vice Director of the provincial Department of Transport Bui Hong Minh said that the BOT projects have created momentum to develop tourism, enhance trade exchange, while also improving its competitive capacity and bettering the quality of life for local people.
BOT and PPP investment models should be applied in a flexible manner and local authorities should create a friendly business environment to make Quang Ninh a more attractive destination to powerful investors.
Bac Giang attracts large tourism projects
The northern province of Bac Giang has successfully secured more than 1.5 billion USD in 16 tourism projects at an investment promotion conference held in Bac Giang city on October 10.
The investments – including the Khuon Than resort, sport, and entertainment complex project valued at nearly 14 trillion VND (603.35 million USD); an eco-urban area project in the south worth 10.2 trillion VND (439.5 million USD); and a high-end housing and service complex project with a total capital of more than 2.3 trillion VND (99 million USD) – are expected to give the locality a makeover.
The projects will be funded by a line-up of giants like FLC Group, Asia-Pacific Investment, Truong Giang Golf JSC, Thanh Hung Group, and Bac Giang Tourism JSC.
Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang affirmed that the ministry will continue its support for Bac Giang province so that the locality can complete socio-economic targets and improve the efficiency and quality of investment attraction.
However, the province should pay due attention to developing new tourism products, he said, adding that the ministry will facilitate conditions for Bac Giang province to participate in investment promotion programmes and introduce its tourism potential.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Le Quang Tung said that branching out standout tourism products together with bettering service quality are crucial for the province’s tourism development.
As Bac Giang sets its sights on becoming famous for its spiritual-cultural-historic tourism attractions, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Linh has committed to creating favourable conditions for investors to build hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls as well as developing potential tourism sites like Suoi Mo and Dong Cao.
The province will channel focus to preserve relics, intangible cultural heritage, and historical and cultural space attached to the Truc Lam Buddhist sect, while developing tourism services at Vinh Nghiem pagoda and Bo Da pagoda.
Located in the Lang Son-Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh economic corridor and bestowed with stunning natural landscapes like Tay Yen Tu Natural Reserve, Khe Ro primeval forest, Dong Cao plateau, and Khuon Than lake, Bac Giang province poses huge potential to build various kinds of tourism products.
In addition, the province is home to more than 2,200 historic and cultural relic sites, including Quan ho (romantic duet singing) which was recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Ca Tru which was inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritages in need of urgent protection.
Bac Giang province has tremendous possibilities to connect its tourism attractions with key tourism sites in the north such as Mau Son (Lang Son province), Nui Coc Lake (Thai Nguyen province), Ban Gioc waterfall (Cao Bang province), Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh province), and Con Son-Kiep Bac (Hai Duong province).
Hapro strikes rice export deals at world rice conference
The Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) has inked three contracts to export rice to Malaysia and the US worth nearly 2.5 million USD during an ongoing international rice conference.
The 10th edition of the World Rice Conference of The Rice Trader magazine (TRT), hosted by Vietnam for the first time, is currently taking place in Hanoi until October 12.
Hapro General Director Vu Thanh Son said the event offers a chance for Vietnam to promote its rice exports as the country has strived to build its brands of the grain and improve quality of the product.
The event has helped Hapro collect market information and development trends of the global rice sector, he noted, adding that the company’s delegation has met with partners to bolster trade cooperation and opportunities at the event.
After equitisation, Hapro has launched trade promotion activities, sought new markets, and strengthened exports. Rice is among the five key exports of the company, Son said.
In May, Hapro shipped 53 containers of 5kg and 10kg rice sacks to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The company exported its first 750 tonnes of rice to the US this June following the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration.