1- The Resolution of the 13th National Congress of the Party set out the goal that by 2045 our country will “become a developed, high-income country”; “arousing the aspiration to develop a prosperous and happy country” (1). To achieve that goal, economic sectors and businesses must develop and implement strategic breakthrough tasks. Therefore, the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA) has actively proposed to develop a fleet of container ships to transport our country’s import and export goods by sea. Decision No. 221/QD-TTg dated February 22, 2021 “Amending and supplementing Decision No. 200/QD-TTg dated February 14, 2021 on approval of Action Plan to improve competitiveness and development of logistics services in Vietnam by 2025″, has set out Task (18) “Improve maritime transport capacity” (2).
2- The issue of developing Vietnam’s shipping fleet has been proposed by many resolutions of the Politburo and the Central Committee of the Party for many years. But it can be said that so far no plan has been implemented. In fact, there are currently many difficulties in transporting import and export goods by sea, especially due to congestion at ports and supply chain disruptions, causing a shortage of ships and containers, making container freight rates higher. skyrocketing impact heavily on import and export and the competitiveness of imported and exported goods. Almost all of the shipping capacity and accompanying freight charges for transporting goods by container to intercontinental routes are in the hands of foreign ship owners, and the State has to spend a huge amount of foreign currency every year. Therefore, having a fleet of container ships not only limits the pressure of foreign shipping lines on freight rates and surcharges, but in the long term is a tool to ensure the economic security of the country, effectively implement effective FTA agreements. In order to build and develop the national container fleet, it is not possible to calculate profit and loss only in a short time, but must have a long-term vision and consider this as a core measure to lower national logistics costs, improve productivity, and improve efficiency. competitiveness of Vietnamese goods and is a measure to ensure the economic development of the country, a country with great potential for marine economy like ours, especially when the world political situation there are many complex developments. Vietnam, a country with an important geopolitical position in the region and the world, must quickly develop a fleet of large tonnage shipping containers, go far, and must become a maritime country with a fleet of ocean-going ships. worthy when compared with smaller countries in the region such as Taiwan (China), Singapore.
3- Vietnam, with an important geopolitical position, is located on the important maritime transport route of the East-West hemisphere, accounting for over 80% of the global freight volume. About 90% of Vietnam’s import and export goods volume is transported by sea. The speed of goods through our seaports increases by an average of 10%-15% per year. For example, in 2021, a very difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic having a great impact on the economy, but the volume of container cargo through the seaport still reached 24 million TEU, up 7% compared to 2020 (3). However, Vietnam’s shipping fleet is only responsible for transporting about 7% of the market share. The rest is in the hands of foreign shipping lines. Vietnam’s container ships mainly operate on domestic routes and short routes within intra-Asia.
The plan to develop the container fleet.
Development investment orientation With the superior advantages of transporting goods by container, it is not only “fast, safe, convenient, diverse” but also the only transportation industry that operating businesses can exchange. The “Equipment” for each other is the exchange of seats on ships (Slot exchange) and the exchange of containers (Container Direct Interchange) on a global scale, like the Seat exchange of the Aviation industry, so Over the past 5 decades, container transportation by sea, rail, road… has developed very rapidly. As of March 25, 2022, the world’s container fleet has 6,346 vessels with a total capacity of 25.5 million TEUs and a total tonnage of 305,902,000 DWT (4). Meanwhile, Vietnam’s container fleet is still too small, as of March 31, 2022, there are 10 container shipping companies nationwide, owning 48 container ships with a total capacity of 39,519 TEUs, total tonnage of 548,236 DWT, of which up to 13 ships over 25 years old, 3 ships over 20 years old, 15 ships with tonnage from 300 TEU to under 600 TEU can only run in the country, the remaining 17 ships with tonnage of 600 TEU or more, including 14 vessels with a tonnage of 1,000 to 1,800 TEUs can operate routes in Inner Asia (5). Therefore, it is very urgent to invest in developing a fleet of containers to transport import and export goods to ensure the initiative, economy, and safety for import and export and the national economy.
However, in order to develop a container fleet, we must invest in synchronously all three factors forming this type of transport, including specialized container ships, container shells and a customer service network, fleets in all areas. including the main ports to which the ship will arrive. Therefore, it is necessary to study carefully to establish the right investment – development direction for the industry. In our opinion, we should divide it into two phases:
– Phase I lasts about 3 to 5 years: Only focuses on investing in ships suitable to operate on Intra-Asia routes, namely to Japan, Korea, China and India. India and the Middle East, this is the area with the volume of import-export goods (dry goods) accounting for more than 60% of the total volume of export-import dry goods of the whole country. Simultaneously with the purchase of ships, containers and opening of container routes in the region, we must find partners who are large shipping lines to cooperate with them in exchanging seats, changing containers, even using control software. operation, management and their service system at ports… This is also the way that shipping lines in the region have done very successfully in the past few decades, typically Taiwan’s WAN HAI shipping lines. Loan (China) or ZIM LINES of Israel…
– Phase II: lasts about the next 5 years, after successfully operating in Inner Asia with our partners, we will continue to invest in larger container ships from Panamax, Post Panamax with weight load 4000 – 5500 – 6500 TEU, large container ship – LCS (Large Container Ship) with tonnage from 7000 – 11000 TEU and possibly very large vessel VLCS (Very Large Container Ship), ULCS (Ultra Large Container Ship) tonnage load from 11,000 to 14,000 VND and 18,000 TEU) to participate in transportation on major intercontinental routes of the world such as Asia – America route, Asia – Europe route, East – West route RTW (Round The World)…
2- The political determination of the Party, State and enterprises. This is the key factor today. Lessons from the past years show that without determination, it cannot be done. Only political will can create a special mechanism for the development of container ships as required.