||Asean Affairs 21 June 2013
Port project all at sea: Vinalines to pull out
The unfinished Van Phong International Port has suffered a major blow after the Van Phong Economic Zone Management Board decided to block investment in the project from Viet Nam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines).
Within the next six to 12 months, Vinalines must end its involvement in the sluggish project, Hoang Dinh Phi, deputy chief of the EZ management board has announced. He added that the board was actively seeking other domestic and foreign investors to step in and take over the project.
Work on the US$3.6 billion port began in late 2009 in Khanh Hoa Province's Van Ninh District.
Vinalines hoped that the port, which was slated for completion in 2020, would one day become a trade hub of Viet Nam.
However, with only five months to go before the deadline for the first phase of construction, which would enable the port to handle container ships of up to 9,000TEU, the building site remains deserted.
Construction had been suspended due to geological concerns, according to a representative from Vinalines.
Other obstacles include a difficulty for the State giant, which had to be bailed out in 2011 following years of financial mismanagement, to mobilise enough capital for the huge project.
The Ministry of Transport proposed that the company end its association with the port as far back as September 2012, and although the Government approved this, it is only now that their licence has been officially revoked.
Other projects to lose their investment licences include an oil and gas services complex developed by the Sao Mai – Ben Dinh Petroleum Investment Joint Stock Company, Phi said.
Licenced in May 2011, the complex had a total registered capital of $1.35 billion and was expected to be finished in 2017.
However, the investor – a subsidiary of PetroVietnam – was yet to start any work on the project due to its failure to mobilise the necessary capital.