According to statistics of the Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA), currently the fleet of Vietnam-flagged cargo ships has nearly 1,050 units, but of which only 38, accounting for 4 percent, are container ships and the number almost kept unchanged in the 2016- 2021 period.
At present, Vietnam's import and export transport market is mainly dominated by foreign shipping lines, and the proportion of the domestic fleet is only 6 percent.
Therefore, enhancing competitiveness in the international market by "rejuvenating" the national fleet is identified as an urgent task at present.
VMA deputy director Nguyen Dinh Viet said that in spite of serious impacts of the pandemic, the volume of cargo handled by domestic ships in 2021 is estimated at 156.5 million tonnes, up 2 percent year-on-year.
In the year, Vietnam’s seaports handled over 703 million tonnes of goods, representing a year-on-year rise of 2 percent. The total volume of container cargo going through seaports rose 6 percent year-on-year to 23.9 million TEUs.
In late November, the container transport route directly connecting Vietnam, Malaysia and India of the Vietnam Maritime Corporation JSC (VIMC) was officially established. Not only shortening the transportation time by 10 days compared to the previous transshipment route through Port Kelang of Malaysia, ships choosing this route can also go directly, without having to combine with foreign container ships.
This raises hopes for Vietnam to have an intercontinental fleet, helping goods owners be proactive in importing and exporting goods, instead of depending on foreign shipping lines with costs of 5-7 times higher.
However, according to a maritime expert, in the intra-Asia market, the average container ship size is about 3,000-5,000 TEUs, while Vietnam's largest container ship is nearly 1,800 TEUs. If the ships are not upgraded soon, it will be difficult for the Vietnamese fleet to survive in the intra-Asia region, not to mention to reach out to the international market.