Lang Son's strength is the border economy and goods trade activities between Vietnam and China, with a focus on 12 border gates in the province, in which the most important is Dong Dang railway border gate and three road border gates are Huu Nghi, Tan Thanh and Chi Ma, according to the assessment in "Planning of Lang Son province for the period of 2023-2030, with a vision to 2050".
Logistics infrastructure for railway transportation
The Ministry of Planning and Investment is carrying out the final verification of the "High-speed railway project on the North-South axis" with Yen Vien station in the north of Hanoi as the northern railway connection center, including connections to Dong Dang International Railway Station and Lao Cai International Railway Station. When this project comes into operation, rail transport can completely combine with road transport to create higher added value for import and export goods, which in particular will reduce shipping time and reduce costs. With an average speed of over 200 kms/h on the North-South high-speed railway axis, combining rail and road transport between the Dong Dang international station border gate and the southwestern border gates adjacent to Cambodia or agricultural and aquatic products in the Southeast and Southwest regions, it will significantly shorten the shipping time compared to the road. This is the future that Dong Dang International Railway Station planning must aim for.
In fact, the capacity to handle freight flows through Dong Dang station is currently very small compared to the freight flows through road. This reduces the opportunity of logistics enterprises in the goal of organizing multimodal transport and reduces the competitiveness of rail transport. The major problem of rail transport at the main border gate is that there is not enough space to meet the future market demand. If the "High-speed railway project on the North-South axis" helps to reduce the time of container transshipment from the Southeast region via railway to Yen Vien station to less than one day, the need for increased cargo handling capacity at Dong Dang station will appear after 2036. This demand can only be met if it is planned in advance.
Logistics infrastructure for road freight and multimodal transportation
Congestion at the border gate area is currently causing a lot of problems for enterprises and local authorities in Lang Son province, where the border gates are located. First, congestion of goods flow will increase import and export costs, reducing the competitiveness of the whole economy.
Congestion of goods flow at border gates in Lang Son province is caused by many reasons, such as seasonal factors in agriculture, problems in trade relations between Vietnam and China, friendly country's zero-Covid policy, ..... One of the causes of the congestion of goods flow is the planning of logistics infrastructure to serve import and export activities of goods.
Currently, all import and export procedures for goods through Huu Nghi international border gate are being carried out at the border gate area, including customs and border guard procedures. This is the reason why the border gate area always concentrates a large number of vehicles and goods and always has the potential to cause congestion. In the past time, the authorities and enterprises have made great efforts to reduce this risk by expanding the capacity of handling goods at the border gate area and cargo flow distributing before entering the border area. However, the main reason is still the same - Cargo trucks must enter the border gate area before they can carry out customs clearance procedures. This is causing enterprises and vehicles to make every effort to enter the border gate, creating an environment for non-transparent activities that have been criminally handled by the Lang Son Provincial Police.
The border gate area is the place to perform many tasks including trade (import and export of goods), diplomacy and tourism (entry and exit), security and defense, ..... The current centralized import and export management model makes it difficult to allocate space and resources to fully perform the functions of the border area. The solution to this problem is to change the current centralized management model to a distributed management model to minimize the risk of congestion. Instead of vehicles having to enter the border gate area to carry out import and export procedures for goods, it should consider opening customs clearance points for goods located outside the border gate area. These cargo clearance points can be located far from the border gate with a radius of about 10 km in order to expand the space and range of vehicle concentration, reducing the risk of local congestion at the border gate area at present. The customs clearance points outside the border gate will help to share the freight flows to do procedures at the border gate area, even to cargo flow distribute out of the border gate area when it is necessary to carry out diplomatic, tourism and national security and defense activities while still maintaining commercial activities.
In order to open customs clearance points outside the border gate as mentioned above, the space must first be planned for this activity. In the "Planning of Lang Son province for the period of 2023-2030, with a vision to 2050" mentioned a freight transshipment area in Cao Loc district, about 4 kms from Huu Nghi international border gate. This location is close to Dong Dang station, so it is very suitable for implementing multimodal transport activities, combining rail and road transport. With a space of about 100 hectares here and a planning vision towards 2050, this location can only meet the needs of rail transport and rail-road multimodal transport. Therefore, there should be other locations in the planning to serve road transport activities associated with customs clearance procedures. Planning such sites will reduce the load, even freeing the border area from the current excessive commercial activities, if necessary.
The planning of customs clearance points outside the border gate to solve the congestion of import and export goods flow will require a large capital source to turn this plan into reality. This is an opportunity for the local government to create an environment that allows many enterprises to compete equally to provide import and export services in the locality. Competition is the driving force of development and the biggest benefit from the competitive process of providing import-export services is the competitiveness of both the economy and the budget revenue for the province.
According to Appendix II, Decision No. 1012/QD-TTg dated July 3, 2015 of the Prime Minister approving the master plan to develop the logistics center system towards 2030, Lang Son province needs a logistics center with a scale of 20 hectares after two stages of implementation. However, the goal of this master plan is a system of logistics centers aimed at serving the domestic market, satisfying the domestic needs of residents. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between this master plan and the planning of a logistics center to serve import and export activities in Lang Son. The definition of a logistics center serving import and export activities is also completely different from a logistics center serving the needs of the domestic market as given in Decision No. 1012/QD-TTg.
At the "Planning of Lang Son province for the period of 2022-2030, with a vision to 2050", it mentioned the formation of a "Premium Logistics Center" through the expansion and upgrading of existing parking facilities at Huu Nghi International Border Gate, ...... Implementing this idea will increase the risk of obstructing the flow of goods and affecting other functions of the border gate as mentioned above.
In order to promote the development of services serving import and export goods and enterprises providing this service, it is necessary to have a logistics center serving import and export goods. "Planning of Lang Son province for the period of 2022-2030, with a vision to 2050" was very precise in setting the goal of developing more new services including value-added services for goods such as warehousing storage, packing, LTL (Less-Truck-Loading) at the logistics center serving import and export activities in Lang Son province.However, these activities should not and cannot be done at the gate area. The central task of this center is to connect modes of transport, connect market entities in order to reduce trade transaction costs and promote the development of new services. Based on the mission of a logistics center serving import and export goods, the appropriate location of this center is a freight transshipment area in Cao Loc district, near Dong Dang railway station..
Assessment of planning needs for logistics
Currently, Railways of Transport and Trade Joint Stock Company (RATRACO) is managing and operating Yen Vien Railway Station in the North of Hanoi. With a land area of about 2 hectares, Ratraco currently holds about 600-1,000 containers and daily handling capacity of about 100 containers to/from Yen Vien station. If it is assumed that the volume of goods to/from railways and customs clearance at border gates in Lang Son area after 2036 is 500 containers/day, the land fund required for this activity must be at least 10 hectares excluding roads. access traffic and ancillary areas for road transport activities serving rail freight. If planning for the demand for multimodal transport, the land fund needed for railway logistics infrastructure will be even larger. To accurately forecast this demand, it is necessary to wait for the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Planning and Investment to announce the final selection and information related to "High-speed railway project on the North-South axis".
It is estimated that about 5,000 heavy-duty transport vehicles (semi-trailers, 3- and 4-axle dump trucks) operate regularly at border gates in Lang Son province. If each means of transport requires about 100 m2 of parking space including space for static traffic, Lang Son needs to plan about 50 ha of land for this purpose. If taking into account the need for space for the management and operation of this number of vehicles, the need for land fund for road transport activities may exceed 100 hectares. Obviously, the existing plans do not meet this requirement. On the strip of traffic safety corridor on both sides of National Highway 1A, extending about 20 km to the border gate area, the parking lot of transport enterprises is temporarily set up with high density, clearly showing this deficiency.
On January 12, 2022, the People's Committee of Lang Son province issued Decision No. 92/QD-UBND to approve the detailed planning for the construction of the cargo transshipment area in the Dong Dang-Lang Son border-gate economic zone, scale 1/500 (phase 2). The content of this decision on the purpose of the Cargo Transshipment Area is ".. the area for inspection, control and supervision of customs procedures, the area for transshipment of exported and imported goods in the Dong Dang-Lang Son border-gate economic zone, general economic zone, commercial services and export and import....". The planning objectives of the Cargo Transshipment Area set out in this Decision can partially meet the need for a Logistics Center to support import and export activities, but have not solved all the problems of road transport and road transport..
To investigate and review the planning objectives according to Decision No. 92/QD-UBND dated January 12, 2022 in the direction of meeting the development needs of logistics activities serving import and export goods, especially rail freight. To accelerate the completion of investment procedures for this plan to attract secondary investment capital for logistics activities. This will be part of the solution to the current congestion of goods in the border area.
To supplement to the "Planning of Lang Son province for the period of 2022-2030, with a vision to 2050" a number of locations suitable for the local economic development plan that have good traffic connections and are located outside the border gate area to serve the transportation of imported and exported goods by road. These locations need to have the function of customs clearance, storage of goods and development of auxiliary services for import and export activities. Most importantly, these locations must associate the parking lot with customs clearance to distribute goods out of the border gate area, ready to flow distribute all imported and exported goods out of the border gate area so that the border gate area performs other tasks.
Currently, Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) is a state-owned company, owning all facilities, technical infrastructure, operating and providing ground services for airlines.at airports nationwide, except Van Don airport. It is recommended that the Lang Son government consider implementing this model - To build, own and possibly bid to operate logistics infrastructure at the border gate area to create an equal competitive environment among enterprises, maintain a stable source of revenue for the local budget and be ready to apply support policies for enterprises in emergency situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 2 years.