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Thursday, September 24, 2020, 10:07 (GMT+7)
The importance of seaports to the country’s economy

Seaports play a role of utmost importance and acts as an incentive to the development of marine economy in particular, national economy in general. They also serve as crossroads for import, export and transformation in delivery from maritime transport to rail, road and inland waterway transport. Vietnam is a coastal country; therefore, half of its provinces and municipalities border the sea and it has a coastline of over 3,260 km along itself. Its sea is large and includes a lot of peninsulas, seas, and wind-tight, deep bays in proximity to the international navigation routes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Ships from Vietnam’s seaports in the East Sea could sail to the Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Middle East, Europe and Africa, while crossing the Bashi Strait into the Pacific Ocean for seaports of Japan, Russia and America.

Fully aware of the importance of seas, islands, and marine economic development, over the years, our Party and State have issued many resolutions, directives and strategies for building and developing seaports, such as the Prime Minister’s Decision 202/1999/QĐ-TTg, dated October 12th, 1999 on developing Vietnam’s seaports towards 2010, the Prime Minister’s Decision 1037/QĐ-TTg, dated June 24th, 2014 on approving the adjustment in the plan for developing Vietnam’s system of seaports towards 2020, with orientation towards 2030. At the same time, they have adopted measures synchronously for building and developing the national system of seaports to meet the requirements set by international integration. As a result, at present, our system of seaports has been developed rather comprehensively. Our seaports’ scale, quantity, capacity and modernity have basically satisfied both domestic and international demands for export, import, and maritime transport.

However, the planning, development and exploitation of seaport services have yet to be on a par with our potential and advantages. Our seaports are still scattered. The development of transport infrastructures and industrial zones has yet to be in line with the system of seaports. Technologies, means and machinery are old-fashioned. The quality of customs service is low while the customs fees are high. We have abundant small-scale seaports but lack large-scale, deep ones. The speed of seaport modernisation is still low and our seaports have not been capable of receiving large and medium-sized vessels yet.

To overcome those above-mentioned weaknesses and keep improving the capacity of our seaports for the sake of the country’s industrialisation, modernisation and international integration, the Resolution of the 12th Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum on the “Strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy towards 2030, with a vision towards 2045” has set the goal of marine economic development as follows: “The focus will be placed on effective exploitation of seaports and sea transport services. To plan, build and synchronously and effectively operate integrated seaports, international transit ports and special-use ports in association with support services; build complete logistics infrastructure and transportation routes linking seaports with localities and regions across the country and to other countries. Promote the development of a rationally structured shipping fleet, apply modern technology to improve service quality to meet the demand of domestic transportation market, deeply participate in transport supply chains, and step by step increase the international market share.”

To that end, the Ministry of Transport should closely cooperate with relevant sectors and ministries, particularly the Customs Force and coastal localities in transforming that goal into resolutions, plans, programmes and projects and taking synchronous measures in accordance with each locality’s particularities and economic development so as to comprehensively raise the capacity of our seaports, develop our marine economy in particular, our national economy in general, and make contributions to fulfilling the goal of turning Vietnam into a strong and rich country based on the sea, together with its sustainable development, prosperity, security and safety.

Nguyen Duc Phu

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