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With the development of southern industrial belt, Ho Chi Minh City thirsts for social housing



As the economic hub of the whole country, Ho Chi Minh City located in the Southern Key Economic Zone (KEZ) contributes strongly to the future “Diamond Octagon” of Vietnam. Therefore, attracting young and professional manpowers is one of the top priorities to sustain socio-economic development.

Recently, in a meeting with the southern provinces, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated: “Ho Chi Minh City and seven provinces including Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Tien Giang and Long An will become the new “Diamond Octagon”, bringing prosperity to Vietnam to reach regional level.

The growth of Ho Chi Minh City is not only driven by big corporations but also hundreds of thousands of small and medium enterprises. This is the goal of the SOUTHERN INDUSTRIAL BELT to become the “leading engine” with dynamics and breakthroughs. With tens of thousands of factories and businesses, mainly domestical ones, the outlying districts of Binh Chanh, Binh Tan and Tan Phu have created strong and sustainable development for the region, connecting the city with the Mekong Delta provinces.

The industries will be interconnected and naturally interwoven on the law of supply and demand to create the harmonious complement. This connection will all come through the key ports located in the southern part of the city as the convergent point for technology transfer, production patterns, supply of resources, logistics and transportation.

Ho Chi Minh City and seven provinces will become the “diamond octagon” (Photo: Architectural magazine).

Especially, Binh Chanh area, with the development of inter-regional transport infrastructure, logistics center around Tan Kien station, connects the city to the southwestern region via the high-speed train and Metro 3A that are taking shape, alongside important economic key ports. In the near future, there will be thousands of Vietnamese enterprises, factories, and research centers growing with great potential in this place.

The development in the southern industrial belt in general, and Binh Chanh area in particular, will attract large investment capital and high quality human resources to serve operation and development. Trained workers, engineers, technical experts, leaders and supervisors from home and abroad will gather here, helping create a new face for a vibrant economic region, and one of the most innovative areas of the country.

Along with the booming industrial development is the importance of investment in social infrastructure, such as housing for workers, engineers, experts; together with school systems, relaxation, entertainment, shopping, health care, and services facilities for daily life. The synchronous development of social infrastructure in a new economic belt will create big attraction for a strong workforce to enable production, trade and services.

Social housing – a push for the southern industrial belt

Singapore, a country with a narrow and small land bank, has successfully built concentrated housing areas with high density and full of public facilities to meet the needs of the people for living, learning, shopping, and entertaining. The buildings have the advantage of being located along public transport routes which are convenient for traveling.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the demand for affordable housing is very large, but in the 2016-2019 period, only about 14 social housing projects with 10,255 units were put into use, while the real demand was 10 times bigger: about 134,000 units.

Social housing – a push to industrial growth of the southern industrial belt.

It’s understandable to say that affordable social housing is becoming much more “thirsted for” in Ho Chi Minh City, being an important role in promoting regional connectivity, creating a driving force for development of the southern industrial production belts, especially for large production centers such as Binh Tan and Binh Chanh areas.
However, until now, the land bank available in Ho Chi Minh City for social housing is very limited, and there is also difficulty in finding the investors willing to spend a large amount of capital for social infrastructure and synchronous transport infrastructure to build a model social housing area, to meet the need of booming development of Saigon South’s economy.




Freight and logistics stocks on the rise despite pandemic




Quy Nhơn Port in south central province of Bình Định. — VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — Freight and logistics stocks have seen major gains since the beginning of 2020 even as the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy. 

According to the General Statistics Office, the country’s exports topped US$254 billion during the first 11 months of the year, making for an increase of 5.3 per cent over the previous year, while imports were estimated at $234.5 billion. 

Increased trade activities coupled with a number of international trade deals which were recently signed or came into effects such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have significantly boosted investors’ confidence in logistics stocks.

A number of stocks such as VSC, GMD, DVP, DXP, SFI and HAH have seen double-digit growth in recent months and some of them set all-time high records on the trading floor. 

Experts, however, pointed out the recent rise in stock value did not necessarily come from better business performance but rather investors’ optimism in the sector’s future. For example, despite the increased trading value, Gemadept has reported a 32 per cent drop in profit in the first three quarters, Tân Cảng Logistic (TCL) a 15 per cent drop and Hải An Logistics a 9 per cent drop. 

A container shortage, typically experienced by logistics firms during the end of the year when import/export activities are at the highest level, especially for an export-oriented economy such as Việt Nam, contributed to an increase in logistics costs.

A report from the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA) showed more than 40 per cent of firms had difficulty finding containers for their cargo with up to 17 per cent unable to rent them. This has created a large backlog of cargo at port and storage facilities across the country, which generated additional revenue for logistics firms. 

Meanwhile, freight charges have skyrocketed in recent months. According to Freightos, a Hong Kong-based shipping company, the freight charges for a 40-feet container from China to the US west coast has almost tripled to near $4,000. 

Investors also seem to be betting on an increase in port charges as Việt Nam’s current prices were comparatively low in the region. A statement from the VLA said the sector has set an objective to bring charges to 60-70 per cent of the region’s price level by 2025, which they have planned to start bringing up at the beginning of next year. —


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Nearly a third of local sugar plants shut down



A farmer harvests sugarcane. Nearly a third of domestic sugar plants have shut down – PHOTO: THANH HOA

HANOI – Only 29 of 40 local sugar plants remained operational in the 2019-2020 season due to a high volume of sugar imports and the deployment of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) with lower tax rates for sugar imports from ASEAN markets, according to the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA).

The 2020-2021 season is forecast to be a hard time for the sugar sector, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic remains a big challenge. Four more sugar mills—Son Duong, Nong Cong, Van Phat and Pho Phong—are likely to stop their operations due to a shortage of input materials, resulting in their poor performance.

The local sugar sector has been hit for many years due to the smuggling of sugar, mainly from Thailand.

Meanwhile, other ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, despite commitments to the ATIGA, have still employed measures to protect their sugar firms.

Vietnam has fulfilled its commitments to the agreement since January 1 by setting no limits on the volume of sugar imports from ASEAN countries and applying a tax rate of 5% for sugar imports from these markets.

According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, nearly 884,300 tons of sugar was imported into the country in the January-October period of this year, higher than the locally-produced volume of sugar. Of the total, sugar from Thailand accounted for 87.67%.

Due to a high volume of low-cost sugar imports, the prices of local sugar products have plunged, leading to low sugarcane prices. As a result, many farmers have incurred debts and stopped growing sugarcane.

In reality, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into sugar products that originate from Thailand in September. The ministry had earlier imposed anti-dumping measures on high-fructose corn syrup products originating from China and South Korea.

According to VSSA, Thailand has banned sugar imports, while Indonesia and the Philippines have allowed the import of a volume of sugar equivalent to the deficiency in volume.

In these three countries, sugarcane farmers are supported through direct and indirect aid and the profit sharing system to ensure they earn a stable income.

Specifically, the Thai Government annually provides at least US$1.3 billion to the sugar sector.

Therefore, Nguyen Van Loc, acting general secretary of VSSA, proposed Vietnam should apply trade remedies in line with the international law and rules of the World Trade Organization.


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UL help deliver confidence in life safety & business continuity



Building owners and operators know that life safety and efficient operation are important concerns. However, meeting these criteria requires thorough understanding, effort and knowledge.

UL has helped many investors in Vietnam and the community in the field of inspection and verification as they build a safe foundation for buildings and occupants.

Customers choose to work with UL to help demonstrate their safety commitment to occupants, insurers as well as take advantage of such added values as detailed and complete reporting, useful information for further informed decisions, improvement and study. They may also have improved peace of mind that systems have been objectively inspected and accurately evaluated.

According to Ms Lưu Thị Thanh Mẫu, CEO of Phuc Khang Corporation, “The infrastructure quality in Vietnam is gradually developing in parallel with the perfection of safety standards. Vietnamese real estate companies have also been contributing significantly to improving general safety standards and applying international assessment programs for their buildings.”

Along with pioneering the application of green building assessment programs, Phuc Khang Corporation has been cooperating with UL to evaluate comprehensively systems of fire protection, security and life safety inside buildings and fully trusted in UL’s competence and expertise to these programs.

Rome by Diamond Lotus of Phuc Khang Corporation is the first residential building that applied UL Standards right from its design stage”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UL had urgently built an evaluation program for reoccupancy
(Building Reoccupancy), aiming to support enterprises as they emerge from occupancy restrictions.

Some services provided by UL’s Building Inspection Services in fire and life safety include: occupancy classification, fire zones/compartmentation, emergency and escape lightning, and illumination of means of egress; as well as other important services in security systems and fire protection systems such as fire pump, sprinkler, burglar alarm system and monitor detectors.


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