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Vietnam's Vung Ang Port vital for shipment of Lao goods

Vietnam has announced it will continue to create favourable conditions for the transit of Lao goods via Vung Ang Port in central Vietnam's Ha Tinh province.

This was relayed by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Th? to Laos' Minister of Planning and Investment Souphan Keomixay and Minister of Public Works and Transport Bounchanh Sinthavong during their recent working visit to Vietnam.

According to the Vietnam News, Th? asked relevant agencies and the Vietnam-Laos Vung Ang Port Corporation to cooperate and offer favourable conditions for Laos to transit its imports/exports via Vung Ang Port.

The corporation was asked to become more proactive in helping Lao enterprises and investors manage operations at the port.

“Vietnam will continue to assist Laos in operations at seaports,” Th? said, adding that this month the ministries of transport and planning and investment had begun developing a plan for better engaging Lao investors in infrastructure projects at the port.

Lao officials said Vung Ang Port has played a significant role in transiting goods from Thailand and Laos to Vietnam and China and vice versa since the opening of the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge linking Khammuan province in central Laos to Nakhonphanom province in northeastern Thailand.

Deputy Head of the Khammuan provincial Administrative Office, Mr Vannavong Vongphachanh, told Vientiane Times on Monday that more goods are crossing via this route as it's the shortest way to transport goods to the Vietnamese port.

It is only 300km from the Laos-Vietnam border to Vung Ang Port, compared to the 500km route from the Lao-Thai border to another Vietnamese port along Road No. 9.

“Laos mainly exports mining commodities through Vung Ang Port, such as potassium and steel. About 80 percent of Phu Bia's output is exported through this route,” Mr Vannavong said.

According to the Vietnam News report, Lao goods account for 18-20 percent of all goods handled at the port, generating average revenue of US$2.6-3 million annually.

In 2001, Vietnam and Laos started cooperation in investment and operations at wharves and service areas at Vung Ang Port, believing the port could play an important role in regional trade.

But the main challenge is the narrow and substandard road leading from Laos to the port which can accommodate only 9.1 tonnes per axle.

Meanwhile, roads in many Asean member countries are able to accommodate trucks loading goods at 11 tonnes per axle.

Another main challenge was insufficient facilities at the port, particularly the warehouse system, according to Mr Vannavong.

In addition, small volumes of agricultural products are shipped through this port to Vietnam and China.

Beef and fruit is shipped from Thailand to China while China exports electronic equipment to Thailand.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update March 21, 2017)

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