CMIT Executive Emphasizes need for land-based infrastructure to meet needs of expected container terminal volume growth at ASEAN Ports & Shipping Conference

Addressing the 8th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Ports & Shipping Conference, Cai Mep International Terminal Commercial Officer Malcolm Gregory outlined the bright future of Vietnam’s fast-growing container trade, but cautioned that land-side infrastructure must not be overlooked as a factor in container terminal productivity and capacity.

“A number of critical projects are either underway or planned, and these are essential if we are to maximize the capacity of the new deep water terminals to handle main line mother vessels” noted Gregory.

The emergence of Vietnam as a major manufacturing centre has led to a significant increase in container volumes, even growing by 2% in 2009 when container throughput declined by over 10% world-wide. Investment in new modern container facilities will enable Vietnam to take full advantage of trade as an engine of economic development. The 1.1 million TEU annual capacity Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT), now under construction and opening in January 2011 is part of the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network. It is one of five new deep water terminals in the Thi Vai - Cai Mep port complex which will be operational by the end of 2011.

The existing Ho Chi Minh City terminals currently handle over 90% of southern Vietnam’s overall container traffic of approximately 3.6 million TEUs in 2009. Total South Vietnam throughput has been projected to grow to 4.8 million TEUs by 2012. The Thi-Vai - Cai Mep terminals, including CMIT, closer to the sea lanes and with access via deeper navigation channels (12-14 meters) will be able to accommodate the larger vessels which are already beginning direct calls to Vietnam. Much of Vietnam’s containerized cargo moves by barge to and from inland points pending completion of road and bridge construction and improvement projects. This improvement in land-side infrastructure will be necessary for the terminals to operate at planned capacities.

“To support just four main line vessel calls per week, as many as 55 barge calls may be required. And perhaps most importantly, every container lifted on or off a barge reduces the capacity of the terminal to handle main line vessels by the exact same amount - potentially reducing the main line capacity of the terminal by close to 50%. So quickly upgrading the land-side infrastructure supporting Thi Vai - Cai Mep is an essential prerequisite to achieving the full potential of these new ports,” said Gregory.

CMIT, is a joint venture between APM Terminals, Vinalines and Saigon Port.