The Việt Nam Maritime Administration has ordered all seaport management agencies to quickly deal with the huge backlog of imported scrap containers across the country.
Owners were told to transport the containers out of Việt Nam immediately, Bùi Thiên Thu, deputy director of the administration, told Giao thông (Transport) online newspaper.
He said any delay could pose a risk of serious environmental pollution.
Thu said his administration had already asked the Việt Nam Customs Agency to catalogue all imported scrap containers that had been in a port for over 90 days, and to tell their owners to collect their contents as soon as possible.
As per regulations, the agency will remove dry goods after 60 days and perishable or chemical goods after 15 days if they are not claimed.
Nearly 9,000 imported scrap containers remain at the country’s ports, including in Hải Phòng, HCM City and Vũng Tàu.
Hà Quang Thắng, head of Legislation Office of the Hải Phòng Maritime Administration, said there were about 5,800 containers at the Hải Phòng port. 1,470 of these have been there longer than 90 days, and an additional 1,700 have been there for between 30 and 90 days.
The Việt Nam Maritime Administration and the Việt Nam Environment Administration had co-operated to record the backlog earlier this month, he said. But they had yet to issue a document detailing potential solutions.
Trịnh Thế Cường from the Việt Nam Maritime Administration said the containers house plastic, paper, aluminum and iron imported by foreign shipping companies.
Nguyễn Tương, general secretary of the Việt Nam Logistic Business Association, said local seaport management agencies must be careful to check the electronic manifest system before allowing ships to land.
Should there be any doubt, the agencies should ask ship owners to take the good out of Việt Nam, he said.
Tương said relevant agencies should remove containers that have been in place for more than 90 days as quickly as possible to make space for new containers to arrive.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc called for urgent measures to improve the management of imports of scrap as a production material few days ago.
The PM directed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment not to issue new scrap import certifications or extend existing certificates.
The ministry only considers granting the permit, which certifies firms have fulfilled environmental protection conditions, when the importer can prove there is demand for the scrap materials.