31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Jun 18, 2018 / 18:33

Imported garbage piles at Vietnam’s seaports

Nearly 28,000 containers of imported garbage are backlogged at Vietnam seaports.

The Vietnam’s government has requested the Ministries of Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, industry and Trade, and Transport to tighten the flow of debris into the country, as well as its process of trading and processing.
Unusual flow of junks into Vietnam
As surveyed, some Vietnam’s seaports now turn into “wardrobes” for a large number of junk waste, an achy issue for the government. Cat Lai port in Ho Chi Minh City is a stark example, where nearly 3,000 containers of junk waste still remain for more than 90 days, after a clearance period.
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo

This trash pile consists of mostly plastics, paper and car tires, according to a branch of Sai Gon Seaport Customs.
“The situation creates extra costs for the seaport busineses since they have to pay for rotating the waste containers. Final outcome is that additional expense and pressure are put onto production capacity and clearance of other goods categories would be hindered”, a leader of the Custom's branch said.
Some firms that don’t import junk waste also complain about this. “Our demand to import raw material and goods meets obstacles because of waste backlog at seaports”, a representative from a consumer goods firm in Ho Chi Minh city said.
Side effects
Questions are raised over this unusual flow of waste into Vietnam’s seaports. Explaining this, Nguyen Nang Toan, Director of Logistics Center at Saigon New Port Co., specified: “The trade policy of large nations evolved unexpectedly recently, especially China with the decision to cease importing 24 categories of recyclable litter since January 1, 2018. From then on, a vast flow of waste can’t find their way into China and has penetrated into other Asian countries, including Vietnam."
The situation, if continues, can generate further effects, Vietnamese officials warned. Specifically, Nguyen Xuan Sang, Head of Vietnam Maritime Administration, supposed an increasing flow waste of plastic and paper would land in Vietnam due to the earlier signed contracts between firms. “This could resulted in serious consequences, such as pollution, high cost for disposal and congestion at seaports”, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Le Duy Hiep, Head of the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA) noted that some Vietnamese firms import waste in low price, then classify them for recycling or “refurbish” them for selling with higher price. “A number of firms realize big fortune from this source and choose to buy a large amount of waste from foreign countries”, he said.
Moreover, some enterprises even take advantage of domestic policy to import secondhand digital products from prestigious markets including Japan, South Korea and the US. “Then they attach the label of “high quality” imported goods for those products and selling them with high price”, Hiep from VLA shared.  
Strong measures needed
Some Vietnamese related agencies decided to say no to waste imports. As stated by Dinh Ngoc Thang, Head of Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City, this agency has stopped welcoming waste imports in border checkpoints. “The scenario of Vietnam turning into global landfill should be blocked”, he said.
Besides, Tran Viet Anh, Deputy Head of Rubber-Plastic Association of Ho Chi Minh City proposed the squeeze in importing policy of waste, junk. “A mechanism to ban junk importers that delay in delivery their goods at sea ports should be imposed”, Anh said.