Sunken ship clogs up cargo flow at major Vietnamese seaport

The sinking of small container ship Vietsun Integrity in the Long Tau Channel continued this week to have serious implications for traffic flow in the area. The Long Tau channel  feeds into the Cai Mep deepwater port in the country’s south, according to a notice from OOCL Logistics. The Long Tau channel is the main route for vessel and barge operations out of Ho Chi Minh City.

The portion of the channel where the sinking occurred remains closed for investigation and salvage operations, which could take up to one month to conclude, according to OOCL.

Vessels are being diverted to the Soai Rap channel, but that has a shallower depth and vessel sizes have been limited as a result.

OOCL said that freight coming into the Ho Chi Minh ports would be affected, noting that the disruption was mostly hitting intra-Asia container ship operations.

Carriers were reducing the amount of cargo, limiting container weight, and could apply congestion surcharges. Asia-to-Europe and trans-Pacific ocean shipping has not thus far been affected. However OOCL warned that containers transshipped from Vietnam to China’s major seaports could face “tight or missed connections” because of the temporary vessel limits.

German freight forwarder Karl Gross Group has saoid that he Cai Mep region was an important gateway for goods to be shipped to or coming from Dong Nai and Binh Duong, two of Vietnam’s major production centres.