Terminal operators at the struggling Cai Mep-Thi Vai port system in southeastern Vietnam are grabbing onto slivers of hope following a slight rise in throughput in the first four months of the year, even as the number of shipping lines making calls at the port has been drastically reduced.
In early 2013, foreign carriers making direct services from Europe and America to the Cai Mep-Thi Vai area fell from 16 lines to eight in reaction to the prolonged global financial and economic crisis.
And with the impending merger of the AEX of Grand Alliance and Loop 1 of the G6 Alliance into the new CEC line, the service lines docking at the Cai Mep-Thi Vai area will further drop to seven, said a news report published online by the Vietnam Seaports Association.
But despite these setbacks, cargo volume at some of the terminals in the port complex has grown, the report added. In the first four months of 2013, the Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT) handled 209,045 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units), up by 72,728 TEUs from the 136,317 TEUs recorded for the same period last year.
The Tan Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal (TCIT), which receives six lines weekly and has a weekly average volume of 12,000 TEUs, recorded traffic of 371,607 TEUs from January to April this year. Although the output was way below the expected 1.2 million TEUs for the period, it was still better than the figures for the same period in 2012. For the whole of this year, TCIT expects to handle more than 640,000 TEUs.
These developments have given container terminal operators in the area hope that business will recover in 2013. Adding fuel to their optimism are the forecast of Maersk Line Vietnam that global freight traffic would increase by 2 percent to 4 percent in 2013 and the statement in April this year of CMA CGM Vietnam that it would consider making direct shipments to Cai Mep-Thi Vai port once again after it stopped last year.