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MSC Proposes $6B Investment for Transshipment Terminal in Vietnam

MSC proposes transshipment container terminal for Vietnam
MSC's new terminal would replace the Cat Lai Port as the largest container terminal in Vietnam (Vietnamese Maritime Authority)

Published Jul 5, 2022 3:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

MSC in conjunction with the Vietnam Maritime Corporation is proposing the construction of a massive new transshipment container terminal near Ho Chi Minh City. The project, which calls for a total investment of $6 billion over the next 18 years, would support MSC’s growth and provide an alternative to Singapore, which is currently the primary transshipment terminal in Asia. It would also be part of an effort to expand the capabilities of Vietnam’s ports. 

The proposed terminal would encompass more than 1,400 acres in the Can Gio District of Ho Chi Minh City. The plan proposed a facility that would have an annual capacity of between 10 and 15 million TEU. It would have more than 23,000 feet of wharf and the capability to handle ships up to 250,000 tons and with a capacity of 24,000 TEU.

Studies for the new terminal were carried out by MSC working with Saigon Port and recently submitted to the government for approval. The central government is believed to be in favor of the plan as it would support efforts to make Vietnam a regional shipping hub. MSC signed a framework agreement for the new terminal with the government of Ho Chi Minh City.

The Viet Nam Maritime Corporation reports that in 2021 approximately 23.9 million TEU passed through the country’s ports, including Ho Chi Minh City and Ba R?a–Vung Tau province in the south and Hai Phong City near Hanoi in the north. Currently, however, Vietnam has a very low volume of transshipments.

The new MSC terminal would focus on transshipment with as much as 80 percent of its volume being international with just 20 percent focused on the domestic Vietnamese market. Under the proposal, construction would begin on the new terminal in 2024 and it would open in 2027. The project consists of a total of seven phases, which would be completed by 2040.

Maersk and CMA CGM have also recently invested in expanding facilities in the region. Both of the companies operate from the neighboring Cai Mep District. Those facilities can now handle vessels up to 214,000 tons.

At the end of 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport detailed plans to invest between approximately $6 and $8 billion by 2030 in the next phase of port development. Their focus is on developing the Hai Phong and Cai Mep ports to international standards and expanding their capacity.

Singapore at the same time has also been working to expand its capacity to maintain its leadership role in the region. A new terminal designed to support the transshipment trade has begun operations. Singapore is expanding its capacity to handle up to 37.5 million TEU. More than three-quarters of the trade is also transshipments.