29 May 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Vietnamese ports impose import restrictions

Plastics recyclers have expressed concerns over restrictions on the imports of plastics into Vietnam because two of its main ports are awash with material for recycling and delays to ships seeking berthing slots.

Vietnam

Container unloading at Tang Cang-Cai Mep terminal

And, the waste paper sector is also being caught up in the action by port authorities with some UK exporters expecting that Malaysian ports will also impose limitations on import volumes.

One plastics recycler said it is thought to be generally lower quality film and mixed plastics exported from the UK, Europe and other parts of the world including Australia which is being restricted by Vietnam.

The issue has been highlighted in a letter from Vietnam’s Tan Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal which confirms that imports of paper and plastic into two of Vietnam’s ports have been temporarily halted.

The build-up of these materials has been expected by some in the UK recycling sector, with China’s restrictions on imports of recycled materials leading to the redirection of materials into other Asian (non-China) countries. Vietnam has been imposed congestion charges because of the extra shipping using its ports for several months.

BIR warning

Earlier this month, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) plastics committee warned that emerging export markets for plastics scrap could introduce sudden import restrictions, a scenario which he said would “again push international trade into a tailspin”.

The letter, which has been sent to shipping companies which use the ports, and shared by America’s  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), explains how volumes of plastic/paper scraps into the ports have been increasing.

Tan Cang

View of part of the terminal at Tan Cang – Cat Lai  (picture: Shutterstock)

Both terminals are operated by Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP), one of Vietnam’s port operators.

The build-up has caused “temporal overcapacity” at larger shipping terminal, Tan Cang – Cat Lai with over 8,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by May 21st accumulated.

Not only has this seriously impacted on Cat Lai’s operations and business activities, the letter states, but also on shipping lines and customers.

The volumes of these two types of scrap have also been “stacked up” at Vietnam’s smaller Tan Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal (TCIT) – it could not be moved to Cat Lai because of overcapacity there.

In order to maintain service quality and facilitate import-export activities of all enterprises, SNP has already stopped receiving imports of containers of plastic and paper scraps at Tan Cang – Cat Lai.

And, the letter confirms that from June 25 2018 to 15 October 2018, TCIT will also stop receiving all imported containers of plastic scraps from other ports.

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