Cargo, Containers, and Connectivity: The Changing Face of Vietnam's Logistics Landscape

The Vietnamese market is one of the fast and largest developing economies in Southeast Asia. It is a key sourcing location for U.S. manufacturers and is increasingly seen as a leading growth area for U.S. companies.

As a result of production shifting from China, U.S. imports from Vietnam increased by more than 100 percent between 2018 and 2021, reaching $100 billion and making Vietnam America’s sixth largest source of imports according to Brookings

The relatively stable logistics environment in Vietnam has helped to stimulate this development. The top three U.S. imports from Vietnam by value are cell phones and related equipment, computers, furniture, and furniture parts. 

2024 Logistics Trends

According to Franky Huang, Station Manager who manages ASF’s Vietnam Headquarters in Ho Chi Minh, shipper clients in Vietnam have indicated that there should be an uptick in demand for shipping services in Q2-2024 once U.S. inventory is reduced and inventory replenishment finally begins. Market demand remains uncertain though and global shippers may be impacted by possible ocean rate increases due to bunker fuel increases, ocean carrier capacity management, and uncertainty from the impact of environmental regulations for green, low emission new vessel orders, once the regulations go into effect.

Port Infrastructure

With Vietnam’s growing import and export volumes, development of the country’s port infrastructure has been a major focus. Improvements to the country’s logistics and transportation infrastructure as been ongoing in recent years. In 2022, for the first time, there was a shift in the primary vessels calling at ports in Vietnam, as the capacity of deep-sea vessels exceeded that of feeder and regional vessels. Moreover, there was an 18 percent year-on-year increase in exports to the U.S. in 2022.

Major Ports: Northern Vietnam

Foreign investors are interested in Hai Phong and other northern regions as they see a reduction in  logistics costs with direct shipping between Vietnam and Western countries. The Port of Hai Phong has the largest import and export cargo throughput in northern Vietnam, and has an established system of modern equipment. It is one of the busiest seaports in the country.

Major Ports: Southern Vietnam

Located in Southern Vietnam, the Port of Ho Chi Minh City is adjacent to the Saigon River, and is Vietnam’s biggest port by container volume.  It is a major gateway for cargo imports and exports in southern Vietnam. In 2022, the Port handled 5,500,000 containers TEUs .

In 2024, The Vietnam Maritime Corporation (VIMC) and MSC plan to invest in a new transit, transshipment, and port development project in the Can Gio district in the Southeast region. The annual capacity will be 10 to 15 million TEU. The first phase will occur in 2024, and in 2027 a terminal will be developed with the final phase expected to be ready in 2040.

Major Ports: Central Vietnam

As the largest port in central Vietnam, Da Nang Port, located in Da Nang Bay has a main port, Tien Sa Port and its subsidiary ports. It features a convenient transportation system and is an important logistics services gateway in the region. It has the capacity to receive container ships up to 4,000 TEUs. 

Supporting its ongoing growth, Da Nang Port will call for investment in ten logistics center projects in 2024.

Freight Technology

For shippers importing or exporting to the Vietnamese market, logistics technology solutions are eagerly adopted to increase efficiency and boost customer satisfaction. The ASF Freight Platform offers Vietnamese clients a simple, streamlined Web-based digital solution for tracking all cargo milestones, at the pre-shipment, in-transit, and post-delivery level enabling users access to live visibility data linked to the associated container and PO data. This allows for identifying and effectively managing exceptions.

ASF- The Human Standard in Global Logistics

ASF Logistics, founded 24 years ago, began with a singular idea: to put people-first and bring integrity and honor to the global freight forwarding market. Every human interaction is an opportunity to create a positive impact. Beginning with the simple act of fostering transparent, respectful dialogues and responding promptly to client needs. This strong belief system has positioned ASF as a trusted logistics partner and important resource for industry-leading logistics technology. Our collaboration with Gnosis Freight, a Container Lifecycle Management technology provider and leader in data integrity, positions ASF on the cutting-edge of logistics technology today.

While technology plays a pivotal role, it is the human element at ASF that ensures the agility, resilience, and success of supply chain operations, especially in this ever-changing global trade landscape.

ASF Logistics provides supply chain logistics services throughout the world including all forms of transport, cargo insurance, customs brokerage, and contract management. Specializations include: Flexitanks, reefer logistics, and project cargo.

Meet Our Expert

This article is reviewed by Jeffrey D. Plumley, Chief Commercial Officer and Licensed US Customs House Broker.

Jeff has an extensive background in global logistics, spanning various freight forwarding executive management positions. As a Licensed US Customs House Broker, he has managed regulatory compliance and is a worldwide expert in Flexitank transportation logistics.

In addition to his strong forwarding and Flexitank background, Jeff was also Head of Regulatory Compliance and Sales for a major global logistics software provider. He has over 30 years of logistics experience and a strong leadership background having graduated from the Citadel.

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