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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/8   2010-08-09 - VNA, SGGP

Int’l seaport breaks ground in Long An province


The Dong Tam Group and the VinaCapital Group co-sponsored a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Long An complex in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on Aug. 8.


The 1 billion USD joint-venture project includes an international seaport, an industrial zone, an industrial logistics zone and an international seaport urban area.


The 2,600 m-long Long An international seaport, 14 km away from the East Sea mouth gate, has been designed to handle ships weighing between 30,000 and 70,000 DWT. Its loading and unloading capacity is expected to reach 2.5 million tonnes a year in 2013 when the first phase is to become commissioned. Its annual capacity is to increase to 9.3 million tonnes by 2015 and 15 million tonnes by 2020.


Don Di Lam, Chief Executive Officer of VinaCapital, which covers half of the infrastructure investment, said at the ground-breaking ceremony that once completed, the Long An international seaport will connect two major domestic water ways from the nation’s largest economic hub of HCM City, one to Kien Luong district in the Mekong Delta province of Long An and the other to the southernmost province of Ca Mau.


The seaport will also help facilitate international transportation in the future, he added.


Dong Tam Group President Vo Quoc Thang said the project is expected to “wake up Long An still sleeping” by busy Ho Chi Minh City for its vast area of saline uncultivated land, thus narrowing the huge gap of development with the southern economic hub.


The Dong Tam Group chief added that the project has been designed to tap all river ways in the entire region and open up a shortest route from the Mekong Delta to the world, thus offering best prices for exporters and importers.


Denmark assists private businesses in raising competitiveness


The Danish-funded Global Competitiveness Facility (GCF) has announced a 210 billion VND (over 11 million USD) grant as non-refundable aid to help private Vietnamese businesses sharpen their competitive edge.


The money will be allocated to 40 projects to be carried out by agricultural businesses in central Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces, central highlands Dak Lak and Lam Dong provinces, southern An Giang and Can Tho provinces from 2011 to 2013.


Priority will be given to the agricultural and aquaculture sectors, as well as to fisheries, handicrafts and tourism, particular businesses with female workers.


The programme aims to help private businesses raise competitiveness and household-based businesses and farmers to change production methods and improve living conditions.]


Work starts on first thermal plant in southern Vietnam


Construction of southern Vietnam’s first thermal power plant, Vinh Tan 2, kicked off on Aigust 8 in Binh Thuan province’s Tuy Phong district.


The project is worth 23 trillion VND (1.2 billion USD) and the plant has a designed capacity of 1,244MW.


The Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Plant would be one of three plants that make up the Vinh Tan Power Centre, General Director of Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) Pham Le Thanh said.


The plant would house two 622-MW turbines and consume about 3 million tonnes of coal per year. When fully operational in June 2014, the plant is expected to produce 7.2 billion kWh annually.


Eighty-five percent of the project’s total investment was provided by a preferential loan from the China Import-Export Bank and the Chinese Government’s official development assistance capital. The project’s remaining capital was provided by the EVN.


Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said he highly appreciates the significance of the plant because it will help ensure the country’s energy security, which will enhance the socio-economic development of the south in particular and of the country in general.


Thanh said the project will be an important supplementary provision of electricity that would satisfy the southern key economic region’s increasing demand, help ease pressure on the North-South transmission line, and improve the efficiency of the national grid system.


Hai asked the National Coal and Mineral Industries Group to cooperate with the Ministry of Transport to manage the delivery of coal to the Vinh Tan centre.


He requested the project’s contractor, Shanghai Electric Group Company Ltd (SEC) of China , to finish the plant on schedule.


Binh Thuan province People’s Committee and local authorities were also asked to finish clearing the site before September and to take care of the people whose land is expropriated.


Hai said the Ministry of Industry and Trade will work with related agencies to complete contractual negotiations for Vinh Tan 1 and Vinh Tan 3 as soon as possible.


Mooncake makers expect big business this year 


Vietnam’s confectionery makers are ramping up production of mooncakes for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival as they expect local demand to increase sharply this year on the strength of an improved economy.


Kinh Do, known as the country’s largest confectioner, said it will increase its mooncake production by 5.5 percent to 1,900 tons.


Another producer, Bibica, said it would raise mooncake output by 20 percent to around 500 tons. Saigon Givral, which focuses sales on Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, plans to double its production output this year.


Mooncakes are eaten and given as gifts in Vietnam during the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival.


The festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar year, which falls on September 22 of this year. Mooncake sales have already started taking off and are expected to peak in the next two weeks.


Several producers said mooncake prices will rise by at least 10 percent this year due to the higher cost of sugar, green peas and nuts.


Vietnam’s economy expanded 6.4 percent in April-June, compared with 5.83 percent in the first quarter.


Mekong Delta squandering land to build industrial parks 



According to the Government’s planning, the Mekong Delta is an area for producing agricultural goods, but to boost economic growth many provinces in the region have focused on industrial development since 2000, with so many industrial parks spring up that many are still untapped.


The region currently has 111 industrial parks (IPs) and complexes that cover a total area of 24,091 hectares. Most of the big-scale IPs are concentrated in Can Tho City and Long An, Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Hau Giang provinces.


Long An has the most industrial parks and the largest industrial area, with 24 parks occupying nearly 8,278 hectares, or 35 percent of the total industrial park area in the region.


Kien Giang is second, with nine parks occupying 7,111 hectares, or 29 percent of the region’s industrial area.


Industrial parks have attracted 494 investment projects, including 70 foreign-owned projects worth US$7.66 billion, and 424 local ones worth VND5,867 billion, creating jobs for over 52,000 people.


Developing IPs affirms the Government’s proper policy on industrialization, as it has facilitated socio-economic development of rural areas. Especially, the seafood processing industry has made great contributions to agricultural development in the Mekong Delta.


However, in terms of general development, there remain many problems in the region’s economy as well as its industrial sector.


In Can Tho City, only Tra Noc 1 and 2 industrial parks have fully complete infrastructures necessary to successfully attract investors, while hundreds of hectares of good land along Hau River in Hung Phu 1, Hung Phu 2A and Hung Phu 2B industrial parks have not been used because the infrastructure of these parks has yet to be built.


Not only these parks, but also the planning of O Mon, Bac O Mon and Thot Not IPs, which cover 1,600 hectares, have affected residents living along Hau River in terms of site clearance and relocation.  


Kien Giang has five IPs occupying over 750 hectares, but only one of them has begun to build its infrastructure and attracted four investors with total registered capital of VND185 billion.


Located along Hau River with many advantages related to water transport, the 300-hectare Song Hau IP in Hau Giang Province has only one investor.


The squandering of land is also seen in IPs in Soc Trang and Bac Lieu provinces.


Only 36-40 percent of each IP in the region is being used and some IPs are only utilizing 5 percent of their land.


According to a study by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’ branch in Can Tho, only over 810 hectares, or 22 percent, of IPs have been rented.


Mekong Delta provinces have built 177 industrial complexes with total 15,457 hectares, and only 15 of them, occupying over 700 hectares, have been rented.


In sum, the region has squandered about 17,600 hectares, representing over 92 percent of the area designated for IPs.


Most of the planning area has been assessed as fertile for growing agricultural plants including rice, fruits and vegetables.


Provinces have wasted their land because they did not study or calculate when developing IPs. Provinces have even built IPs without synchronously constructing the necessary infrastructure.


To get approval for building five more IPs on farming land, Vinh Long authorities reported that 1,000 hectares of 1,930 hectares needed for new IPs are farmlands that produce low yields, about 4.07 hectares of rice per hectare, while the land truly produces 6-7 hectares.


To become the province with the most IPs, tens of thousands of households in Long An have had to move and resign their land for construction of IPs, with an average of one hectare of land reclaimed per three households that have had to relocate.


Nearly 1,300 households in the province’s Thu Thua District have lost their land since 2004, and 4,300 households in Ben Luc District, 5,300 households in Duc Hoa District and 4,100 households in Can Giuoc have also moved.

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