VietNamNet Bridge – Trucks have been queuing up over the last many days at the entrance to the Dung Quat port in Quang Ngai province, waiting for their turns to delivery wood chips to big tonnage ships which would head for China.

While waiting for their turns to enter the port, truck drivers were seen gathering in groups, playing cards to kill time or taking a nap on hammocks. More and more trucks were seen joining the long queue, lasting about one kilometer.

Khai, a truck driver, said that he carried shavings for an enterprise headquartered in Nui Thanh district of Quang Nam province. He complained that he had been waiting for a long time in the context of changeable weather.

“Sometimes we had to stay here from the afternoon until the next morning to be able to deliver goods to the ships,” he said.

“The enterprises which I work for pay some hundreds of thousands of dong a day. If we stay here for long, it would cost us more money,” he said.

Dao Tuan Hue, an executive of PTSC port authorities in the Dung Quat economic zone, said that the wood chip sales once were stagnant in July and August due to the sharp price falls. Since the prices have moved up by a little, Vietnamese enterprises rush to make products for exports to offset the stagnant period.

Hue has confirmed that truck drivers complained they had to work too long to be able to enter the port. It was because of many reasons, including the bad weather which made ships dock the port later than initially planned. Besides, it took ship owners two or three hours to follow necessary procedures before they could begin receiving goods.

In general, a 30,000 ton ship stays at the port for five days to receive goods. In many cases, the trucks carrying wood chips cannot deliver goods, because the ships leave when they get full. As a result, the trucks have to wait until the next freighter docks at the port.

In 2012, about 2.5 million tons of wood chip exports went through the two ports of PTSC and Gemadept in Dung Quat Economic Zone, mostly shipped to China.

Analysts have warned that the wood chip market in Quang Ngai province would see a 10 percent fall in 2013 due to the unstable material sources and unstable demand from China.

Nguyen Duy Ngoc, Director of Gemadept Dung Quat port, said more and more wood chip factories have arisen, which has forced producers to scramble for materials.

The competition among producers has become so serious that they have to buy young acacia trees to process wood chips, thus churning out low quality products and badly affecting the export wood chip market in the central region.

There are some 20 wood chip factories in Quang Ngai province, including the two which are under the construction. Each of the 18 operational factories needs 18,000 tons of materials every day to run. However, only six tons can be found in Quang Ngai, while the remaining must be found in neighboring provinces.

According to Nguyen Ni, former Chair of the Quang Ngai wood chip export association, a ton of wood chip was sold at US$138 dollars earlier this year. Meanwhile, the price dropped to $122 in mid year and has just moved to $128 per ton.