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Lang Son proposes transporting goods to China by rail

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Customs Department of Lang Son Province has proposed transporting goods to China by rail to cope with the huge backlog of goods along the northern border.

Thousands of container trucks have got stranded at border gates in some northern provinces, including Lang Son, after China tightened its inspection at the border gates, citing concerns over Covid-19.

China has also stopped allowing foreign drivers, including Vietnamese container truck drivers, to enter its territory, leading the container truck backlog to soar at the northern border gates.

According to Nguyen Huu Vuong, deputy director of the Lang Son Customs Department, over 2,100 container trucks are still stranded at the border in Lang Son alone.

“Currently, only 78-90 container trucks can pass the border gate a day. With this pace, we will be able to clear only some 1,000 container trucks from now until the Lunar New Year and over 1,200 container trucks will remain stuck,” Vuong said at a meeting this morning, December 27.

In Quang Ninh Province, over 1,500 container trucks had got stuck at the border as of December 25.

Some 80% of the trucks carry farm produce and fruit that are likely to perish in case of long customs clearance delays.

According to the Lang Son Customs Department, China plans to tighten control over the import of goods through the border gates until March 15, 2022.

Vuong proposed the Government organize high-level meetings with the Chinese side to address the issue.

Customs departments and the localities have suggested businesses restrict transporting goods to the border gates.

The Lang Son Customs Department also suggested the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Customs encourage traders to transport goods by rail. “Rail freight transport has more advantages in the context of China’s Zero Covid policy because it requires only a small crew to operate a big train,” Vuong said.

On December 29, a delegation from Vietnam’s northern provinces of Lang Son, Cao Bang and Quang Ninh will meet with customs officials from China’s Nanning to discuss solutions for border blockages.

The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association estimated that the congestion at border gates could cost Vietnamese businesses up to VND4 trillion (US$175 million).

A container truck carries goods worth VND500-900 million on average. The trader also spends up to VND100 million to rent a truck, hire a driver and pay other expenses, Dang Phuc Nguyen, chairman of the association, said.

To support the businesses, Lang Son Province has cut some related fees and provided food for the drivers whose trucks are stuck at the border.

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