Vietcombank provides $65 mln in credit to PV Gas pipeline project
|At the Nam Con Son Gas Processing Plant. (Photo: Bnews/VNA)|
The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has agreed to provide 1.5 trillion VND (65.1 million USD) in credit for the PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (PV Gas) to finance the second phase of the adjusted Nam Con Son 2 Gas Pipeline Project.
The credit agreement marks a new milestone in the comprehensive strategic partnership established in 2018 between the two State-owned enterprises.
Part of the Master Plan for Vietnam’s Gas Industry Development to 2025 and a vision until 2035, the project is significant for the synchronous development of infrastructure in the country’s gas industry and will help enhance the capacity and flexibility of local gas projects.
The first phase, laying 151 km of undersea pipeline off the coast of southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, was completed in 2015.
The second phase will build main pipelines for transporting gas from the Cuu Long and Nam Con Son fields to the mainland.
PV Gas General Director Duong Manh Son said this is a strategic project of the corporation and the comprehensive, long-term strategic partnership it has with Vietcombank will help heighten both sides’ prestige and position.
Vietcombank and PV Gas signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement in 2018, under which the former will provide the latter with financial packages, including project financing, international payments, money flow management, and individual finance, with numerous preferential policies./.
Binh Duong to spend 388 million USD to improve transport connectivity
The southern province of Binh Duong will spend around 9 trillion VND (388 million USD) on key transport projects this year to boost socio-economic development, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Hoang Thao has said.
In order to efficiently use the money, funds will be spent on important, key projects that can be completed and put into use this year.
Specifically, the province plans to build fly-over bridges at Phuoc Kien, Cho Dinh and Cho Cay Dua junctions.
The provincial construction department said the fly-overs would reduce ground level junctions with the ring road and the My Phuoc - Tan Van expressway, while boosting traffic connections among industrial parks in the province and HCM City ports.
The province also plans to expand and upgrade My Phuoc - Tan Van expressway and provincial highways No. 743, 747B and 746, which will improve transport to Dong Nai province and HCM City.
The upgrade of My Phuoc - Tan Van expressway is one of the key projects because it connects urban areas and industrial parks, and opens up a freight corridor along the North - South backbone axis parallel to National Highway No.13.
This will create favourable conditions for access to Cai Mep - Thi Vai port in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province and the Long Thanh international airport in the future, according to the construction department.
The widening of major roads such as National Highway No.13 and My Phuoc - Tan Van between concentrated industrial zones has eased travel to ports.
In recent years, Binh Duong has spent large amounts to improve road infrastructure to enhance transport connectivity with HCM City and nearby provinces, developing concentrated industrial zones and attracting workers from provinces and cities around the country.
Bui Minh Tri, head of the province's industrial zone management, said as one of the fastest-growing provinces in the key southern economic zone, Binh Duong is among the hottest investment destinations in the country.
It is always looking to develop transport infrastructure to help ship goods to other provinces and abroad.
It plans to further improve transport connectivity by developing waterways, and, in the future, create a rail link to transport goods to ports in HCM City and Dong Nai province./.
Germalink port receives first commercial vessel
The first phase of the Germalink international port was put into operation with the welcoming of first commercial vessel on January 19.
The 165.375-DWT CMA CGM CORTE REAL vessel is one of the largest container vessels in the world. It will unload over 8.200 TEU worth of goods in the port.
Earlier on December 30, 2020 and January 7, 2021, the port received two pilot ships from CMA-CGM.
The Germalink port covers 72 hectares in the downstream of Cai Mep River in Phu My town of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
It is the biggest deep sea container port in Cai Mep – Thi Vai area with 1,150m main berth and 370m feeder berth. The first phase includes 800m main berth for mother vessel, 260m side berth for feeder on the 33ha area. The port capacity in the first phase is 1.5 million TEUs per year. The whole project capacity is 2.4 million TEUs per year.
Gemalink port has outstanding competitive advantages thanks to its convenient location at the river mouth with the deepest draft for proper turning basin, the longest main berth, the only deep sea container port at Cai Mep-Thi Vai being designed with dedicated berth for feeder to connect HCM City and Mekong Delta region, the capability to accommodate 200,000DWT vessel and strong cargo commitment from global carriers.
The introduction of Gemalink, which is the gateway to the South of Vietnam with strategic location in Port Group No. 5 according to the Government’s master plan, will contribute remarkably to the release of congestion at HCM City ports, meet the demand for cargo trading between Vietnam and other countries in the region and in the world as well as the demand of Gemadept’s partner in Gemalink JV that is CMA-CGM and its shipping alliance.
Nguyen Thanh Binh, Vice Director of Germadept, the investor of the project, said that the firm’s sound relationship with its partners will keep the port busy at its maximum capacity right from the first years of operation./.
Airlines plan to increase domestic flights during Tet
Domestic airlines will focus on exploiting routes around the country instead of international routes during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) which will fall in the first half of February, according to Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam Dinh Viet Thang.
Thang said that more than 1,000 flights will be operated each day, up 28 percent over the holiday in the previous year. Particularly, the number of the flights will reach 1,200 in peak days, he added.
Specifically, Vietnam Airlines and Vasco will operate 379 flights per day and even 504 flights in peak days, rising 35.5 per cent and 31 percent respectively over the previous Tet.
Meanwhile, Vietjet will have 371 flights per day averagely and 375 flights in rush days, and Bamboo Airways will operate 180 flights per day and 190 flights in peak days.
Pacific Airlines plans to have 124 flights per day averagely and 130 flights in rush days, up 25 percent and 28 percent compared to the previous Tet, respectively.
Thang added that the carriers will also increase night flights from 22:00 of each day to 7:00 of the next day./.
Indonesia aims to become world's largest vannamei shrimp producer
Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono is targeting to turn the country into the world's largest vannamei shrimp producer by pushing production to 16 million tonnes annually from the current figure of below one million tonnes.
As reported by the local news agency Antara, to achieve this goal, Indonesia must begin developing new shrimp ponds spanning 200 thousand hectares until 2024. Currently, the country’s annual vannamei shrimp production is less than one million tonnes, below that of China, Ecuador, Vietnam, and India.
"If we succeed in developing 200 thousand hectares of shrimp ponds, with two harvest cycles of 80 tonnes per hectare per year, based on an economic analysis, it could generate nearly 1,200 trillion rupiah," Minister Trenggono was quoted by Antara as saying.
He added that the development also aims to build a strong defense system to protect the nation’s maritime wealth.
Trenggono revealed that the KKP will also build aquaculture villages in several parts of Indonesia to boost the economy./.
MoIT working to ensure supply of goods during Tet holiday
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) recently issued Directive No.15 on the implementation of measures to ensure essential consumer goods are available during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday and to stabilise the market.
The Departments of Industry and Trade nationwide have been ordered to outline production and business plans while making evaluations on the supply and demand of essential items, so as to make a timely response to prevent a shortage of goods or price hikes during Tet.
They should recommend the provincial People’s Committees set up plans to stock shelves for the holiday or in case of epidemic, as well as join hands with branches of the State Bank of Vietnam to help businesses access preferential loans to produce essential goods for the holiday.
They have been asked to coordinate with the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and competent agencies to keep a close watch on weather and disease developments and to assess the ability to supply pork and other essential goods to the market.
The MoIT has requested local corporations to introduce import measures, if necessary, to stabilise the market.
Under the Directive, the Domestic Markets Department is to work with localities to promote the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise Vietnamese goods”, aiming to support local production and increase supplies of price-stabilised goods in remote and mountainous areas. They are also urged to introduce safe food as well as local staples to consumers around the country.
Along with urging companies to enhance domestic trade promotions and stimulus programmes to boost consumer spending, the department is to create favourable conditions for them to join the market stabilisation programme in order to expand their distribution networks in mountainous, island, and remote localities.
The ministry also directs petrol trading companies to ensure sufficient reserves for the market, and to coordinate with competent agencies to enhance control of gasoline quality.
It will inspect and supervise power corporations to assure electricity supply for production and daily use.
The Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance is responsible for examining food safety and quality, and preventing speculation and price hikes in contradiction of existing laws.
Due attention will also be paid to raising public awareness of the State’s market stabilisation and food safety policies./.
Thai Nguyen hi-tech agricultural zone set up
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed Decision No 70/QD-TTg on the establishment and issuance of operational regulations of the Thai Nguyen high-tech agricultural zone.
The zone will be set up in Tien Phong commune, Pho Yen town, Thai Nguyen province, spanning 154.36 ha.
It is to host research activities and pilot hi-tech production models in farming, forestry, aquaculture, and farm produce preservation and processing, among others.
The zone will also specialise in training and technology transfer serving the agricultural sector of the province, the region and Vietnam as a whole.
The provincial People’s Committee has been asked to steer the construction, assessment, and approval of planning for the zone in keeping with regulations.
The province has previously set up large-scale agricultural production zones of high economic value. Of particular note, it is among the largest tea-growing areas in Vietnam, being home to over 22,400 ha./.
Malaysia files WTO lawsuit against EU on palm-biofuel curbs
Malaysia has recently filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the European Union (EU)’s rules affecting the consumption of palm oil-based biofuels.
In the complaint, dated January 15, Malaysia charges that the EU, particularly its member states such as France and Lithuania, had imposed restrictive measures on the use of palm oil that violate international trade agreements.
Malaysia holds that the bloc and its members confer unfair benefits to EU domestic producers of certain biofuel feedstocks such as rapeseed oil and soy, and the biofuels produced therefrom at the expense of palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels from Malaysia.
The EU has embarked on a major plan committing its members to build a carbon neutral economy by 2050, including by promoting the use of biofuels. However, it has deemed that palm oil production is not sustainable and palm oil-based biofuels cannot be counted towards EU renewable targets.
Malaysia, the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, baulked at EU efforts to phase out the use of palm oil as a biofuel, and has requested consultations to help resolve the dispute./.
Thailand’s rice exports remain gloomy this year
Thailand’s rice exports are expected to recover slightly from an estimated 5.8 million tonnes in 2020, which was the lowest in 20 years due to weak global purchasing power caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a container shortage and the strong baht.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), said he believes that rice exports will reach 6.5 million tonnes at best this year, up from an anticipated 5.8 million tonnes worth 110-120 billion baht (3.65-3.98 billion USD) in 2020.
Rice exports remain gloomy this year, as consumers worldwide are likely to opt to save their money and buy rice at cheaper prices, he stated.
He took Malaysia as an example as the country has now started buying more rice from India with cheaper prices, instead of Thailand and Vietnam.
According to him, the container shortage is another obstacle for rice export prospects, citing the Thai National Shippers’ Council’s expectation that the container shortage will last six months.
About half of rice exports now rely on shipping containers. The container shortage in Thailand has intensified since June 2020 after China announced an easing of lockdown measures and Vietnam ramped up its exports.
Thailand is estimated to face a shortage of more than 1.5 million containers, according to the council./.
Thailand: airlines cut flights due to reduced number of passengers
At this time, those who need to travel by air to various provinces across Thailand are asked to follow announcements by the airlines because they have cut the number of flights to some provinces due to a reduced number of passengers during the COVID-19 epidemic.
At Trang Airport, there have been quite small numbers of passengers. However, strict COVID-19 prevention measures have still been in place. The Trang Airport Director said the new wave of COVID-19 infections has led many provinces to control passenger numbers in and out of the region, and people are asked to refrain from traveling between provinces. As a result, the number of passengers using Trang airport has decreased.
Various airlines have reviewed their flight arrangements. Some airlines have announced temporary flight cuts, because each flight had only a small number of passengers. Some flights had fewer than 10 passengers. This week, it is expected that the airlines will reduce the number of flights.
People who travel through airports nationwide are asked to follow announcements on the various communication channels used by the airlines, to check their flight details as well as follow announcements on the numerous requirements related to travel between provinces from government agencies./.
Draft amendments to Decree 52 on e-commerce activities discussed
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese e-commerce market is still booming. Therefore, the amendment and supplementation of Decree 52/2013/ND-CP on e-commerce to better manage the activity, considered "the future of the retail market", is extremely necessary.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) recently coordinated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to organise a seminar commenting on the draft amendment of the decree.
The Vietnamese e-commerce market includes big names such as Shopee, Lazada, Tiki and Sendo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce platforms recorded double-digit growth.
With a market of nearly 100 million people and stable socio-economic growth, e-commerce in Vietnam is considered to be full of potential. Many foreign investors have poured billions of dollars of investment into these sites.
Experts also emphasised the importance of the revised Decree 52 to manage but not restrain the explosive growth of e-commerce activities in Vietnam.
Chu Thi Hoa, Deputy Director of the Institute of Legal Science under the Ministry of Justice, stated that the policy of the State was to promote digital economic development.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should be cautious in amending some points of Decree 52, especially in matters that have a profound impact on foreign investors and enterprises and those which may cause difficulties for business operations.
Meanwhile, Sendo Chairman Nguyen Dac Viet Dung raised concerns about the regulations on market access conditions of foreign investors from the perspective of domestic enterprises which need access to capital to develop amid fierce competition.
As e-commerce is a field which needs significant capital, Vietnamese businesses without a parent company with strong financial potential would not be able to develop and compete as they are only allowed to access capital from the narrow list of investors announced periodically by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, he said.
In addition, the draft decree also eliminated the participation of the group of investors, which are foreign investment funds, which are one of the types of investors with abundant capital and experience to support local businesses to develop strategies, operations and human resources.
Doan Tich Tu Phuoc, a MoMo representative in Hanoi, said that tightening cross-border transactions would reduce the attractiveness of e-commerce in the country.
The long-term consequence was that domestic e-commerce sites might have to make room for the operation of overseas e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Aliexpress, or Facebook, which were not subject to Vietnamese law.
Consumers buying goods on these platforms would also not enjoy protection and support policies from domestic e-commerce trading floors./.
Hanoi envisages to become international trade hub
Hanoi will carry out an array of industry and trade development measures with a view to building Hanoi into an international trade hub in the region and the country, as well as concretising the resolution adopted at the municipal Party Organisation’s 17th congress.
The municipal Department of Industry and Trade plans to lure more investments, and outline support measures and programmes to encourage businesses to land investment in modern distribution and sales systems such as shopping malls and supermarkets.
It is striving to develop five regional-level wholesale centres, ten regional-level shopping malls, 12 logistics centres, 68 trade centres, 850 supermarkets and 140 markets.
Besides, Hanoi, which houses to 6,000 information technology firms and two IT parks, has taken lead in the country in terms of ICT revenue.
Furthermore, the capital city has witnessed the sound development of infrastructure at industrial zones, with 17 high-tech industrial parks, 70 industrial clusters with stable operation, and 43 newly-established industrial clusters. Handicraft industry has been encouraged and received support, with 1,350 craft villages which attract tens of thousands of labourers.
According to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan, thanks to timely response to the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, the sector attained robust achievements during the 2016-2020 period.
The whole sales and retail sales contributed greatly to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), she said, adding total retail sales and social services picked up average 10.54 percent each year.
Although the city’s exports were battered by global supply chain disruption due to COVID-19, export revenue during 2016-2020 surged 8.8 percent, or 1.68 times higher than the 2011-2015 period, Lan said, attributing the results to the city’s flexible policies and drastic guidance.
However, tough challenges are ahead for the city’s industry and trade sector. They come from the curtailment of industrial production as most of the large production facilities move out of the central city, and limited investment in high-tech industry and weak development of supporting industry. Besides, attracting investments in local industrial parks is not an easy task since industrial land leasing costs in Hanoi are higher than those in localities in the vicinity such as Ha Nam, Hoa Binh and Hung Yen.
The city also found difficulties in luring investments in trade infrastructure due to a lack of competent management policies and mechanisms.
During the 2021-2025 period, the sector targets 7.5-8 percent growth in the added value of the local industrial products, 9.5-9.7 percent growth in exports, and 9-10 percent in retail sales and social services.
Lan said that the sector will work to remove bottlenecks for local firms, especially supporting enterprises and those manufacturing key industrial products, while capitalising on the fourth industrial revolution to promote development of high-added value products and supporting industry.
In addition, it will call for investments in industrial infrastructure, and enhance state management to improve operation efficiency of local firms, she added./.
Indonesia to invest 17.59 billion USD in oil and gas industry
The Indonesian government will invest 246.26 trillion rupiah (17.59 billion USD) to implement upstream and downstream oil and gas projects in 2021, Director General of Oil and Gas at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Tutuka Ariadji said on January 18.
The amount of investment in upstream oil and gas projects is 2.1 billion USD higher than the figure of 10 billion USD in 2020. Meanwhile, investment in downstream projects is to rise to 5.2 billion USD from only 1.8 billion USD in 2020.
Ariadji said the government will continue to cooperate with businesses to build oil refineries, while continuing to simplify the licensing for downstream oil and gas exploitation, encourage the development of integrated oil and gas infrastructure and support the conversion of diesel oil to natural gas./.
Vietnamese airlines brace for travel upsurge during Tet
Domestic airlines will increase the number of night flights before, during and after the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday – the biggest traditional festival of Vietnamese - to meet increasing travel demand of passengers.
According to Nguyen Quang Trung, head of Vietnam Airlines’ development planning department, the national flag carrier is adding late night flights during peak time, with the number of flights surging 30 percent as compared to the same time las year.
The move aims to meet growing air travel demand and ease ground congestion at airports, he added.
Tet airfares are 10 percent lower than the previous year, and a wide range of flexible fares have been available for customers, Trung said.
Earlier, the Vietnam Airlines Group, which include Vietnam Airlines, budget carrier Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), said it will supply over 414,000 extra seats from January 27 to February 26, 2021 to serve increasing travel demand. This will bring the total seats on flights operated by the Vietnam Airlines Group during the traditional holiday to 2.4 million, equivalent to nearly 12,000 flights.
Vietnam Airlines has increased night flights from 0:00 to 5:30 everyday, with airfares sold at 200,000-300,000 VND (8.69-13.04 USD) cheaper than those for day flights.
Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Vietjet Air decided to add more flights departing late at 23:30 and early at 5:30, as well as provide 1.5 million Tet tickets on all domestic routes. Besides, it has recently opened sales for 1.5 million promotional airfares (from 555,000 VND including taxes and fees).
Bamboo Airways said it recently launched direct flights from Can Tho to Phu Quoc island, and Con Dao island in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. The non-stop service will be operated during the week, using Embraer 195 aircraft. On the occasion, the airline offers special fares on the route, with one-way ticket priced from 49,000 VND on Can Tho-Phu Quoc, and 809,000 VND on Can Tho-Con Dao.
Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) Dinh Viet Thang has issued a directive on enhancing safety measures for airplane during maintenance downtime since the number of airplanes in maintenance during non-service period is increasing due to COVID-19.
He ordered airlines to keep a close watch and strictly follow airplane manufacturers’ instructions on maintenance./.