MMI Research 18

Comparative Study in Potential of the Ports in Indochina

by Associate Professor Dr. Ittiphol Pan-ngum et al in 1998 *(The Full Text view in Thai Language only)*

ABSTRACT

    This study was conducted into the operation of large transshipment ports in the Far East, e.g. Ports of Hong Kong and Singapore; feeder ports in Thailand and Vietnam. The aims of the study were to assess the amounts and the nature of cargoes, to assess future growth potential, the captive and competitive hinterlands of ports in Indochina.

    Field-trips outside Thailand were made to Singapore, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Saigon, and Vung Tao. Trips aboard cargo-vessels were made to Singapore, Hong Kong and Saigon. Top and middle management of ports, and shipping agents were interviewed.

    The two largest hubs of Asia were found to be constantly under pressure to expand their capacity, to acquire new and modern equipment to handle larger vessels introduced by ship owners in order to reduce ship building and operating costs. China continues to grow at the rate of no less than 8% creating higher demand on shipping. On the other hand, the economic downturn in Southeast Asia since 1997 had given rise to imbalance of container demands.

    Ports in Vietnam were still in the state of rehabilitation, with foreign investments being solicited for future development. The ports, except at Da Nang and Vung Tao are river ports with constant demand on dredging. Development of road and rail had yet to keep up with the demand for port development, thanks to the prohibitive cost of bridge constructions over many large rivers at the estuaries. The local demand for ports in the south was found to be more pronounced in the North; with Da Nang, the port in the middle part of two countries playing very little role in sea transport. Vietnam had aims to provide port services to the neighbouring provinces through her northern ports/rail service and to the neighbouring countries, Thailand and Laos, through Highway No. 9.

    The designs on Chinese cargoes coincided with those of Thailand which inevitably put Thailand and Vietnam into future competition. Although Thailand, thanks to her more advanced road networks, has the competitive edge, she has yet to convince Myanmar and Laos that facilitation for transit cargoes between south western part of China and Thailand could be good for all.

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