mai hien

Scrap imports into Vietnam surge
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 02:10

The volume of second-hand products imported into Vietnam has rocketed in recent times, announced officials at a press conference on the management of waste imports, organized on July 30 by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In 2016, Vietnam had imported more than 4.8 million tons of scrap, including iron, steel, plastic and paper. The volume had increased to more than 6.5 million tons last year, reaching over four million tons in the first half of this year.

In the January-June period, plastic waste imports amounted to 277,700 tons, well above 245,800 tons imported in 2016.

As of July 25, nearly 3,600 waste containers had been left unattended at the Cat Lai Port in HCMC and some 1,500 scrap containers had been left at the Haiphong Port in Haiphong City.

Customs officials attributed the backlog of scrap containers at the local ports to China’s suspension of 24 types of scrap imports.

Au Anh Tuan, head of the Customs Supervision and Management Division under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, said that many waste importers have yet to complete customs clearance procedures as they have failed to meet the requirements on environmental protection to import scrap as production materials, leading to the surge of waste containers at the ports.

As waste containers pose a high risk for environmental pollution, shipping companies and port service providers have proactively stopped accepting waste shipments, Tuan added.

News website Vietnamplus quoted Nguyen Khanh Quang, deputy head of the Anti-smuggling Investigation Division under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, as saying at the press conference that one of the major difficulties in managing waste imports is the falsification of required documents by importers.

He cited the example of Duc Dat, a waste importer headquartered in Ninh Binh Province. The firm has been prosecuted for deliberately falsifying waste import documents.

Under prevailing regulations, waste importers submit copies of the required documents, forcing the competent agencies to collect the original ones during investigations. In addition, importers are not willing to cooperate with the customs agencies, hindering the investigations, Quang reportedly said.

Mai Xuan Thanh, deputy general director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, saidtthe customs agencies had found it difficult to detect those enterprises without certificates of eligibility for environmental protection on scrap imports granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as the list of all eligible waste importers has yet to be publicized on the national single window portal.

Another hindrance is that the customs officials are required to take four to five waste samples per container, which means they need to open all the containers, but the available space at the ports to carry out this exercise is limited.

Besides this, the customs agencies need to review, classify and address abandoned waste containers at the ports. Transport firms have been assigned to carry the imported waste that is likely to cause environmental pollution out of Vietnam. However, the competent agencies have not introduced penalties for transport firms that fail in their duty, according to the Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper.

Therefore, the General Department of Vietnam Customs will soon propose penalties. It is also expected to suggest a reduction in the volume of waste imports and a waste import ban in the future.

Meanwhile, the municipal and provincial governments should ask the port service providers in their localities to store the abandoned waste containers in specific areas at the ports.

Vietnam jumps 25 levels in WB’s logistics performance index
Monday, 13 August 2018 01:58

Vietnam’s position in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) in 2018 rose 25 levels compared to two years ago, jumping to the 39th among 160 surveyed countries, according to the latest report from the World Bank (WB).

Representatives from the Ministry of Transport attributed the result to the improvement of the two indicators of “Logistics Competence” (up 29 levels) and “Tracking and Tracing” (up 41 levels).

The report states that among the lower-middle income countries, large economies such as India and Indonesia, as well as emerging economies such as Vietnam and Côte d'Ivoire, stand out as top performers by showing a significant jump to a higher rank.

The top five logistics performers this year are Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Austria and Japan.

Among Vietnam’s neighboring countries, Thailand is still ahead, ranking 32nd.

The LPI is the world’s logistics performance index released by the WB every two years. It is a unique benchmarking tool, providing the same measure for more than 160 countries.

It measures performance on trade logistics within a country based on six indicators, namely the efficiency of customs and border management clearance; the quality of trade and transport-related infrastructure; the ease of arranging international shipments with competitive price; the competence and quality of logistics services; the ability to track and trace consignments; and the frequency with which shipments reach consignees within the scheduled or expected delivery time.

The LPI is a crucial part of global efforts to better understand logistics performance in the context of increasingly complex supply chains.

Thanks to the ranking, enterprises can get insight into logistics systems of each country, thus calculating the efficiency for their investment and business

In 2016, Vietnam ranked 64th out of the 160 countries in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index and fourth in ASEAN after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Vietnamese firms mainly provide domestic logistics services such as transport service, airport, seaport and warehouse services and cargo handlng services.

Few firms provide international logistics services through acting as agents for foreign enterprises.

Foreign e-comerce firms accept losses in VN
Friday, 10 August 2018 01:34

Many foreign giants have invested in Viet Nam’s leading e-commerce platforms even as they incur big losses, as they continue to see the long-term potential of the country’s rapidly expanding online shopping sector.

With all the ingredients for a thriving e-commerce economy – a young population, rising disposable incomes and growing internet and mobile adoption – the Vietnamese e-commerce market is expected to maintain an annual growth rate of 25 per cent to reach US$10 billion in the next four years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-commerce Department.

However, the Vietnamese e-commerce market is still in an early stage of development, so it poses major challenges to players.

According to industry insiders, companies need to pump significant funds into their e-commerce business to carry out tasks from sales and marketing to warehousing and logistics, so profits are easily eaten up. Also, many platforms suffered losses from special discount offers and promotion campaigns to snag new customers.

E-commerce companies have spent aggressively to gain market share, intensifying the competition and the short-term losses, reported.

Despite a loss of VND164 billion (US$7.1 million) in 2016 and more than VND600 billion last year, Shopee has continously received more than VND1.2 trillion in investment from its parent company, Singapore’s Sea Limited (Sea), in the first half of this year.

Shopee has pumped money into promoting its platform with plenty of discounts, free nationwide shipping service, training for sellers and other promotions.

After suffering a loss of some VND600 billion in 2017, Tiki got additional investment of some US$50 million from China’s second largest e-commerce group and some other investors early this year.

Tiki has also planned to call for more investment worth some $50-100 million next year, which will continue to take part in. The investment can be considered a move to race with Alibaba in Viet Nam’s e-commerce market after Alibaba acquired Lazada several years ago.

To gain large market share in Viet Nam, Alibaba’s Lazada ran up accumulated losses of more than VND2.7 trillion in 2015 and 2016. With the fiercer competition in the market last year, Lazada’s accumulated loss could reach nearly VND4 trillion when all the accounting for 2017 is complete, reported.

According to trade expert Vu Vinh Phu, foreign investors are continuing to increase their presence in Viet Nam’s e-commerce market despite losses, as their current goal is to attract customers, stretching their influence in the market.

Nguyen Manh Dung, head of the Vietnam and Thailand Office under CyberAgent Ventures, told local media that e-commerce requires a long-term investment, and investors could start to earn profits after five to 10 years of operation.

Even Amazon in some markets has only started making a profit after 10 years of investment, according to Dung.

With fierce competition in Viet Nam, it is likely to take e-commerce firms some time before they start reaping the rewards, he added.

Online retail makes up only 1 per cent of the total retail market in Viet Nam, compared with the 14 per cent in the US and China. There is still a long way to go for the Vietnamese e-commerce market to reach its peak, so foreign companies like Alibaba, and Sea have invested in the country early to get ahead of the curve, experts concluded.

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