The launching of the sea-based economy development programme with the construction of seaports has attracted a lot of big investment projects worth several billion dollars.

Welcoming investors

In January 2007, Japanese Sumitomo group officially applied to the Khanh Hoa Peoples’ Committee for the two projects worth $4.2bil in Van Phong Economic Zone after two years of surveying the conditions in the zone. Sumitomo plans to build a 2,640 MW thermo power plant on an area of 175 ha on My Giang hamlet in Ninh Hoa district in Khanh Hoa province, which is estimated to cost $4bil. Sumitomo will also get involved in the starting phase of the international transit container port on Dam Mon peninsula, which is estimated to cost $196mil.

An official from Sumitomo said that both projects are just the first phase of the investment plan of the group. If everything goes smoothly, the group will inject a sum of capital three fold higher than the announced capital sum in building the container transit port.

Besides Sumitomo, the world’s third largest steel group Posco from Republic of Korea, which has invested $1.2bil in the steel mill in Ba Ria – Vung Tau and the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin), have asked to lease 720 ha at Van Phong bay to build the steel complex which is expected to have the capacity of 4mil tones a year in the first phase and 8mil tones in the second phase. The total investment capital of the project is $7.2bil.

According to Vo Lam Phi, Chairman of Khanh Hoa Peoples’ Committee, many big groups from Japan, Korea, the US and Europe have expressed their willing to make long term investment in Van Phong. Most recently, the advanced team from Dubai World from UAE has come to Van Phong to prepare for the big survey to be conducted in March 2007. The oil billionaires are also planning to inject several billions dollars in the projects on seaport development, and Van Phong proves to be their first choice thanks to the container transit ports here.

Making Van Phong more attractive

According to the master plan on the Van Phong Bay Economic Zone by 2020 approved by the Government, Van Phong bay will be built into a general economic zone, in the development of which, the international container transit port will play the key role.

Van Phong has become a very attractive investment destination. Deputy Chairman of Sumitomo group Shuji Hirose said that if comparing with the regional transit ports like in Singapore or Malaysia, Van Phong has a better geographical position thanks to the good water depth of 20-27 m. Besides, Van Phong is also out of wind and has large seaport.

Therefore, Van Phong can become an ideal transit port in the region in the region provided that Vietnam has suitable programming for it and offers good investment attraction investment policies.

According to Tran Tan Phuc, Director General of Port Coast, the port design and maritime technique consultancy company, which drew up the detailed design of Van Phong port, Van Phong has big advantages in attracting investment, and it would be regrettable if Vietnam does not have suitable policies to lure foreign investors.

Mr Phuc said that in order to call for investment to Van Phong, the local authority should focus on upgrading the infrastructure system, including power transmission line, road and wharfs. In fact, many investors, though being attracted by the advantageous position of Van Phong, are still worried about the poor infrastructure situation here.

Mr Phi has stressed that the infrastructure development will be the priority task of Khanh Hoa province for the coming months. In the immediate time, Khanh Hoa will build big water reservoirs in Ninh Hoa and Van Ninh districts, which will provide water to Van Phong economic zone. In addition, two wharfs, which are 800 m long will be built in the northern area of Van Phong bay.

Source: VietNamNet Bridge

According to the Van Phong Economic Zone Management Board, 48 investment projects have been licensed or will be set up there, 50% of which are foreign invested, totaling over $7bil. 17 projects have been operational, 19 projects are following investment procedures, 12 have been just registered. Most of the projects are in heavy industries, seaport development and maritime and tourism services.

Nguyen Trong Hoa, Head of the management board, if the Government makes the decision on building the container transit port soon, the investment registered capital in Van Phong zone will reach $13-15bil in 2008.

Several investment projects that have been licensed: 1. the Van Phong petrol and oil bonded warehouse, which will cover an area of 162 ha on My Giang island in Ninh Hoa district. The first phase of the project has the investment capital of $60mil, which will allow to build the oil and petrol depots of up to 500,000 cu m and receive the ships of 150,000 DWT. 2. the $70.7mil Van Thang industrial zone and urban area, which will cover an area of 264 ha to be invested by Korean Shinsojae Energy 3. the shipbuilding project in Ninh Hoa district, which is estimated to cost $500mil. In the first phase of the project, some 15 ships will be built every year.