The development of the Nghi Son seaport system in the Nghi Son Economic Zone was not surprising. In 1996, nearly 30 years ago, a group of experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) stated during their survey, “... Located at the southern end of the Thanh Hoa coastline, Nghi Son has the potential to build a deep-water seaport with a depth of 15-18 meters. After building a large cement factory, a dedicated port, and infrastructure lines into the industrial park, along with comprehensive investment, the Nghi Son area will become one of the modern industrial centers in the North Central region and the country, serving as the main gateway of the Northern economic triangle...” In 2010, Wharf 3, invested and operated by a business entity, was able to accommodate 70,000 DWT reduced load ships. Currently, the Nghi Son seaport area has nine general and container wharves and six specialized wharves in operation, with ongoing investments in 10 container and general wharves, ensuring ships with a load capacity of over 30,000 DWT can enter and exit.
In recent years, the Nghi Son seaport has grown at an “astounding” pace. In 2021, about 43.03 million tons of goods passed through the port, meeting the predicted volume and accounting for about 50% of the total volume of goods through the Group 2 seaports (equivalent to the combined amount of goods through the Nghe An and Ha Tinh seaports), consistent with the predicted volume of goods in the approved plan until 2020, ranging from 38.7 to 44.7 million tons. 2022 was a challenging year due to COVID-19, but in 2023, Thanh Hoa expects about 47.7 million tons of goods to pass through Nghi Son seaport.
When it comes to Nghi Son port, those in the maritime industry think of the Nghi Son Wharf area, the South Nghi Son Wharf area, the North Nghi Son Wharf area, Me Island Wharf area, anchorage areas, and the Hon Me transfer point... All of which are filled with the sound of ship horns.
I remember the day we welcomed the group of artists, journalists, and Secretary of the Provincial Party Secretary, Do Trong Hung, who shared his pride: “Thanh Hoa now belongs to the group of leading provinces in the country - a new extreme growth point. Along with Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa has formed a development quadrilateral in the Northern region of the country."
In the overall plan for the development of Vietnam's seaport system in the period 2021-2030 and the vision towards 2050 by the Prime Minister, Nghi Son Port is a type I port and is planned to potentially become a special port. The deep- water seaport system of Nghi Son is planned to include 62 specialized, general, and container wharves.
In this new “appearance” of Thanh Hoa, the role of Nghi Son’s extreme growth point is significant.
On our visit to Nghi Son, we had the opportunity to visit the Nghi Son Steel Plant No. 1 of the VAS Nghi Son Corporation, a subsidiary of the VAS Corporation. Speaking of the VAS “parent company,” after 25 years of formation and development, they now have a system of billet casting and steel rolling plants spanning from North to South with a total annual capacity of 4.45 million square billets and 2.55 million tons of construction steel, along with a deep-water seaport system covering an area of 33 ha with six wharves capable of handling up to 15 million tons of goods per year.
In the Nghi Son Economic Zone, VAS is not only a steel producer but also a port operator. Along with the Nghi Son Steel Plant No. 1, the Nghi Son International Port, and the Nghi Son Steel Plant No. 2 completed in early 2022 and put into operation, VAS has provided employment for over 5,000 workers and contributed to the Thanh Hoa provincial budget from 3,000 to 4,000 billion VND each year. The Nghi Son Steel Plant No. 3, with a production capacity of 7 million tons of steel per year, is also being launched.
What’s special is that, not only in Nghi Son, the VAS factory system is invested in modern technology lines from Danieli, one of the world’s leading industrial conglomerates in the steel production industry.
“VAS is currently the fourth-largest steel producer in Vietnam. Our steel products have been exported to Asia and Central America, and in 2023, they will meet European standards. Previously, during the war, people in Thanh Hoa were proud of their ‘homeland of steel,’ and now Thanh Hoa can be proud of producing steel for the world,” shared Deputy General Director Trinh The Dung.
VAS Deputy General Director, Trinh The Dung, said that in addition to the factory system, VAS has been and is continuing to expand investment in the port system and port logistics to create a complete ecosystem and optimize operating costs for the enterprise.
“VAS sees this as a long-term strategy to help Vietnamese businesses deeply VAS Deputy General Director, Trinh The Dung, said that in addition to the factory system, VAS has been and is continuing to expand investment in the port system and port logistics to create a complete ecosystem and optimize operating costs for the enterprise. “VAS sees this as a long-term strategy to help Vietnamese businesses deeply participate in the value chain of the region, while affirming the position of Vietnamese businesses in the international market,” he shared. I have often heard about the “business ecosystem”, circular economy, green economy... but it was not until I visited the Nghi Son Steel Rolling Mill of VAS that I truly understood this concept. All of the raw steel material for the factory is imported scrap, AI is applied in production, environmental monitoring, and there is no concept of smoke or dust in the factory area. The Nghi Son International Port project (VAS Port) invested by VAS Group since 2015 has been completed on an area of 33 ha, including 6 port bridges, a total length of 1,397m, capable of receiving general cargo ships up to 70,000 DWT, container ships up to 30,000 DWT, and liquid cargo ships up to 70,000 DWT. This is also the first seaport in the North Central region to deploy international container reception and operation services.