Vietnam's SPCT plans go deep

04 Feb 2010

SPCT's recent ribbon cutting ceremony

Saigon Premier Container Terminal (SPCT) has officially opened its gates after three years of construction. Located near Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, it is part of the area's push outwards away from the congested inner city, where a number of smaller port operations are closing.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Dr Mark Yong of BMT Asia told Port Strategy that, "the challenge for the port now is its depth".

At the moment the port can handle 2,000 teu ships, placing itself as a feeder port for mid-sized vessels. However, major dredging work is planned: by the end of 2010 ships of 5,000 teu should be able to berth, and by 2015 the capability should reach 8,000 teu with a 12 metre dredge.

The DP World-operated facility sits on the western shore of the Soai Rap River on 23 hectares in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park. It began operations in October 2009, just two years after construction began in September 2007, and the port already has five lines calling into it on a regular basis, including MISC, CMA-CGM, Gemadept, MCC and ZIM.

However, the opening comes just after the slump and possibly before the rise, "so the challenge is how to stay ahead of the game with so many deep sea ports springing up nearby", says Dr Yong.

The project is a joint venture by DP World and a state-owned company, and does have hinterland connections growing rapidly around it. Although there is no rail as yet, quite a few roads have sprung up in a short time.

"There's been a fast pace to the development," says Dr Yong. "This area south of Ho Chi Minh has the city itself, but also could capture a large part of the market for the Mekong Delta region."

One aspect to the throughput is seafood, so the port expects to handle a number of chilled reefer boxes. One nearby logistics company with this capability is already in operation, with one other cool storage operation expected to start shortly.

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