Vietnam builds 56,200-ton ships, happy to be outsourcing provider

Vietnam’s shipbuilding industry

On April 12, 2015, Dongbacshin organized a ceremony for the hand-over of Truong Minh Dragon, a 12,500-ton ship to Truong Minh International JSC. Also at the event, Dongbacshin signed a contract to build the 56,200-ton bulk ship for Truong Minh.

It is expected that Dongbacshin would build the new vessel on the basis of Vinashin’s half-done ship.

The building of the ship was being done in 2011 by Nam Trieu, a subsidiary of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin). However, as Vinashin was dissolved because of losses, the ship was left unfinished.

According to Hoang Hung, deputy chair and secretary general of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Science Association, it is difficult to know how much work Nam Trieu has done. What Hung knows is that all the components are ready for assembling.

“If Nam Trieu had finished, Vietnam could have shown its ability to build big-tonnage ships some years ago,” he said.

What happened with Vinashin caused the half-done ship to be put in mothballs. However, the contract obtained by Dongbacshin will help revive the ship, and save billions of dong.

Hung said that it is too early to say if the maritime shipping industry has revived, but the order for a 52,600 ton ship shows domestic businesses have begun making profits and need big-tonnage ships.

Happy to be “outsourcing power”

When asked what Vietnamese can do in building ships, Phan Vinh Tri, a renowned maritime expert said: “The only thing Vietnamese can do is make the hulls, and put parts and components together.”

“We cannot do more than that,” he added.

The 12,500-ton Truong Minh Ship was designed by Kitada, a Japanese design firm. All the main equipment of the ship was imported from Japan, Germany and South Korea.

An expert who asked to be anonymous said that Dongbacshin’s conditions are not good enough to build a 52,000 ton ship. Prior to this, Nam Trieu also built a ship with foreign-made design and used imported equipment.

This mean that Vietnam can only do the outsourcing based on foreign designs and imported materials.

However, Tri noted that Vietnam should be happy to be an outsourcing provider, who can implement complicated high-technology works.

“It would be better for Vietnam to do the outsourcing and fulfill the outsourcing well, rather than try to do everything, but do nothing well,” he commented.

“It is not a shame to become a qualified outsourcing provider for the world,” he said.