Maritime trademark - key for maritime economic growth

Building trademarks for maritime products is crucial for Vietnam to exploit sea resources in an effective and sustainable way, making Vietnam a strong country in terms of maritime economy.

With a total coastline of over 3,260km spanning across 28 provinces and cities, over 1 million square kilometers of exclusive economic zone and more than 3,000 islands and islets, including Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, Vietnam’s potentials for sea-based economy are abundant.

The major target of the Vietnam maritime strategy to 2020 is to turn Vietnam into a country that has sea-driven strength and wealth. To this end, it is crucial to build an effective and sustainable maritime economy in line with the development of a strong sea and island trademark of Vietnam. 

According to statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, more than 3,000 islands and islets of Vietnam has a total land area of 1,700 square kilometers.

Three islands having an area of more than 100 square kilometers are Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang, Cai Bau in the northern province of Quang Ninh and Cat Ba in the northern province of Hai Phong. There are 23 islands with more than 10 square kilometers in area, 82 others with area of over 1 square kilometers and more than 1,400 unnamed islets with high potential in tourism and economic development.

However, experts held that only a small number of islands have developed their own trademarks for their tourism and other products.

Many localities are still lacking suitable and comprehensive measures to make a master plan for the exploitation of their sea and island potential. They have underestimated potential of sea resources and environment. The building of maritime trademark has just begun.

The trademark of a maritime country is a collection of sea trademarks, which are not only marked with economic and business features but also with other areas, including names of place, recognised trademarks, and characteristics of culture, history, and prominent figures. It could easily leave strong impression and win customers’ interest.

Trademarks for maritime products are those developed for products and names attaching to the areas of navigation, seafood, tourism, natural resources, sea industries and maritime reserve areas.

The commercial products and names must be famous and become trademarks. A great number of businesses and localities with their strong maritime trademarks will help Vietnam become famous for its prestigious and high quality products.

In recent years, domestic and foreign consumers have become familiar to products with origin from Vietnam’s sea and islands, including Phu Quoc fish sauce, Ly Son garlic and Nha Trang bird’s nets, which have contributed to the growth of Vietnam’s sea and island trade mark.

Huynh Quang Hung, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Quoc district, said the locality has developed a pepper farm to the GlobalGAP standards that would help build the island into a centre for ecotourism, resorts and high-end entertainment nationally and internationally.

The farm is expected to serve as an attractive site for tourists, contributing to expanding the “Phu Quoc Peppercorn” trademark which was recognised by the Department of Intelligence Property in 2011.

Along with peppercorn, Phu Quoc fish sauce and mother-of-pearl are also among trademarks that are being developed by Phu Quoc, said Hung.

Meanwhile, Ly Son island of the central province of Quang Ngai, which is also known as the “Kingdom of Garlic,” is focusing on growing trademark for its garlic.

Garlic brings an income of 1.5-2 billion VND per hectare for islanders each year. The peak season for garlic harvest is in April and May when tourists flock to the island to experience garlic harvesting.

At the same time, the south central province of Khanh Hoa has also worked to promote its own trademark for Nha Trang birds’ net, and the northern coastal city of Hai Phong has been advertising its Cat Hai fish sauce and Cat Ba’s forest bee honey.

According to Vu Sy Tuan, deputy head of the Sea and Island Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the building of trademark for maritime products requires joint efforts of central and local levels.

He stressed the need for specific, proper and synchronic policies as well as strong enough resources.

Tuan also highlighted the necessity of close coordination and high consensus among ministries, sectors, localities and businesses to improve the exploitation of sea resources.

Algeria ranks fourth among Vietnam’s export destinations in Africa

Algeria is currently the fourth biggest export market of Vietnam in Africa, following South Africa, Ghana, and Egypt.

Vietnam’s shipments to this African nation were estimated at 271.42 million USD in 2016, up 16 percent year on year.

Among the main export items, 64,050 tonnes of coffee worth 112.96 million USD were sold to Algeria, up 74 percent in volume and 64 percent in value. About 40,097 tonnes of rice were exported to bring home 15.36 million USD, rising 6 percent in volume and 3 percent in value. 

Other commodities seeing an increase in shipments were pepper, steel, aquatic products, computers, electronic products and components, machinery and spare parts.

Meanwhile, the export turnover of telephones and components fell by 26 percent to 76.86 million USD.

Last year, Vietnam’s trade office in Algeria organised an array of trade promotion activities, including five workshops on bilateral trade potential. It also assisted two delegations of Vietnamese businesses to attend international fairs and stepped up communication activities there such as publishing business news bulletins in French.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade also sent staff members to Algeria to work with local ministries and agencies, seeking ways to boost cooperation in the time ahead.

To strengthen trade ties and also to mark 55 years of the countries’ diplomatic relationship, Vietnam will work harder to promote bilateral trade in 2017 such as through helping enterprises to participate in the Algiers International Fair and holding four business seminars on economic and trade partnership potential.

Tourism expected to drive Hai Phong forward

Favourable transport infrastructure and beautiful landscapes are expected to boost tourism in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Cat Bi International Airport and the Hanoi-Hai Phong expressway, which were put into service in early 2016, have helped cut travel time from Hanoi to Hai Phong.

Direct flights between Hai Phong and foreign countries like Thailand and the Republic of Korea, or localities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc island district in Kien Giang province in the south, Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and Nha Trang city in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, have been launched.

Along with favourable transport infrastructure, efforts made by agencies in tourism and the involvement of big investors have turned Hai Phong into a popular tourist destination.

At a workshop on Hai Phong tourism held by the municipal Department of Tourism, leading experts in this field across the country discussed promoting local tourism through social communication and developing standard tourism products.

Various tourism promotion activities have been conducted in Cat Hai district, which is the administrative management unit of Cat Ba archipelago – an attractive tourist site with leisure, exploration and ecological tourism in the Cat Ba National Park in the island commune of Viet Hai.

Firms like Vingroup, Sungroup and Him Lam have invested in luxurious resorts in Cat Ba and Do Son. Once operational, the projects are expected to become ideal destinations for both domestic and foreign holiday-makers.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Hai Phong, particularly Do Son beach town, has experience in tourism development.

The northern port city welcomes a large number of visitors every year. In 2016, the locality is expected to greet 5.7 million tourists, the agency said, noting that the target is within reach as about 5.6 million tourists visited Hai Phong last year.

Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the VNAT’s  Travel Department, at a recent workshop on tourism development in Hai Phong said the city should make breakthroughs in tourism and consider the sector a driving force for local economic development.

He also suggested the city step up State management to synchronously conduct tourism activities.

To that end, Hai Phong should revamp the municipal Tourism Department, ensuring it has enough human resources capable of implementing the city’s guidelines and plans, Phuong said.

At the same time, it is necessary to develop spearhead tourism products like leisure tourism on Cat Ba island in a sustainable manner, he added.

Nguyen Thi Ha, Director of Viettravel Hai Phong, described tourism products as decisive to tourism promotion, saying Hai Phong should connect with other localities to promote tourism products for the northern coastal region.

Travel companies will introduce products to their customers, she said, underlining the need for Hai Phong to turn itself into an attractive and safe destination different from others in culture and landscape.

Channels should be built and updated with new mechanisms, policies and information about tourist attractions and Hai Phong’s connection with foreign and domestic localities, Ha suggested.

In particular, information about Ca Bi International Airport needs to be updated more regularly for partners and tourists, she added.

Tran Thi Kim Quy, Deputy Director of Hung Vuong Investment JSC  - the investor of international brand names like Cat Ba Resort and Flamingo Dai Lai in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, said Cat Ba archipelago has advantages for tourism development with the most noteworthy being its biodiversity and Cai Beo, the most ancient fishing village in Vietnam.

However, Cat Ba has failed to fully tap its potential, she said, suggesting Hai Phong extend the duration of tourism projects in the islands to 70 years and shorten the time for administrative procedures while upgrading infrastructure in Cat Ba.

Khanh Hoa designates Van Phong bay as key economic zone

The central province of Khanh Hoa has designated Van Phong bay as a key area for economic, seaport and tourism development thanks to its great sea-based economic potentials. 

Van Phong bay, called Port Dayot (Ben Goi) by French people, lies in Van Ninh and Ninh Hoa districts, 50km from Nha Trang city, 35km from Tuy Hoa city and stretching from the foot of Ma Canh mountain to the northern foot of Phuoc Ha mountain. 

To the west of the bay is the extension of Truong Son mountain range. To the northeast is Hon Gom peninsula with small mountain ranges and sand dunes. The 27.5km peninsula is shaped like an arm embracing a treasure – Hon Lon island which sprawls over nearly 46  

To the southeast between Hon Gom, Hon Lon peninsulas and Co Co island is a strip of water 200m wide and 25m deep, making it easy for vessels to travel. 

Van Phong bay covers an area of nearly 150,000ha, including 80,000ha of water surface and 70,000ha on the mainland. It boasts a system of islands, peninsulas, beaches, sand dunes and a diversified ecosystem such as tropical and mangrove forests, flora and fauna. 

Inside the bay, from Co Ma to Dam Mon, there are many beaches and island villages such as Dam Mon, Ninh Dao, Khai Luong, Vinh Yen and Diep Son. The most ideal area is Dam Mon with more than 30 natural beaches such as Son Dung, Bai Tay, Bai Bua, Bai Nhau and Bai Lach. 

Experts from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (OMT) and the Vietnam’s Institute of Research and Development of Tourism said Van Phong bay has good conditions to develop tourism. 

Project VIE89/003 by the OMT confirmed Van Phong bay as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Asia and the Far East, surpassing Thailand’s Phuket and comparable to beaches in Africa’s Sierra Leone. 

Considering the geographical location and natural conditions, Van Phong bay has potential to develop into a general economic zone. 

Established in 2006, Van Phong economic zone has scored several significant achievements, laying creating a strong driving force for the province. 

As the country’s largest economic zone of up to 150,000ha, Van Phong economic zone is not only significant to Khanh Hoa, but also to the central region and the country. 

The province also advocated building a special administrative-economic zone in the north of Van Phong bay. Though a new model, the project seems feasible and promising and has been submitted to the government for approval. 

The zone has so far attracted more than 130 projects worth tens of billion USD, notably the 4.3 billion USD Nam Van Phong oil refinery complex with a designed capacity of 10 million tonnes per year, and the 2 billion USD Van Phong I thermal power plant with a capacity of 1,320MW, which have been approved by the government and will be launched soon. 

The birth of the Cam Ranh shipbuilding factory invested by the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (Vinashin) has marked the development of Khanh Hoa’s shipbuilding industry. The opening of small and average-scale factories to build ships for tourism and sport has affirmed the capacity of the province’s shipbuilding capacity. 

In the foreseeable future, Khanh Hoa will continue accelerating site clearance and completing transport, electrical and water infrastructure projects.

Vietnam targets sustainable aquaculture

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), aquaculture can make up tens of billions of USD a year for Vietnam’s GDP if its potential is fully tapped.

It cannot be denied that the country’s aquaculture have constantly witnessed healthy development in both farming area and output. Specifically, the total area for aquaculture to date is 40,000 hectares, 1,200 ha more than that of 2010, with an output of 308,000 tonnes, nearly double the figure of 2010.

However, the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said total area suitable for aquaculture in Vietnam covers 244,000 hectares in coastal regions and islands, far larger than the aforementioned number of current aqua farming areas.

The development of Vietnam’s aquaculture is seemingly unplanned and spontaneous with low-quality breeds which fall short of consumers’ demands, it added.

Other factors, such as farmers’ outdated farming methods and technologically backward cage aquaculture also hinder the development of aquaculture.

In order to tackle the issues, the association should exert great efforts to proactively assist localities in detailed planning for fishes, crustaceans and molluscs, as well as increase surveillance over their implementation of aquaculture planning. 

Besides, disease prevention and control, and farmers’ compliance of farming procedures and substance uses require meticulous attention.

The association is also urged to work towards synchronous policies in technology, incentive credit and taxes, and trade promotion for a sustainable development of the country’s aquaculture.

Noticeably, the Vietnam Sea-culture Association (VSA) has recently been established, opening up an effective communication channel among enterprises, scientists, farmers and government authorities in implementing target programs on sea culture value chain formation.

The VSA’s establishment is expected to exploit untapped aquaculture potentials of the country’s sea and islands for greater economic value.

Bach Long Vi island district thrives from sea

Bach Long Vi is the farthest island of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tokin and it is making all-out efforts to implement the national marine strategy by 2020 in a bid to prosper from the sea.

Covering around 2.5 square kilometres when the tide is rising and about 4 square kilometres when the tide is receding, the island became a district of the northern coastal city of Hai Phong under the Government’s Decree 15/CP dated December 9, 1992. 

Despite its small scale, the island with its significant strategic position has long been regarded important in the country’s marine economic development, security and national defence strategy in the Gulf of Tonkin. 

Later in 1994, the Prime Minister issued Decision 397/TTG approving the development of the Bach Long Vi island district into a district-level administrative unit and a fishery logistics centre in the Gulf of Tonkin.

With a harbour that went into operation in 2000, the island district provides storm shelters for about 11,000 fishing boats each year.

Bach Long Vi is home to many species of sea grass, 65 seaweed species, 94 coral species, 110 species of marine zooplankton, 227 species of marine phytoplankton, and 451 species of marine fish. 

It also boasts 17 species of mangroves and 125 benthic or seafloor dwelling species.

The island, housing nearly 1,000 residents, has been built to become a fishery logistics centre, thus receiving average annual arrivals of up to 30,000 boats and 200,000 fishermen.

Do Duc Hoa, Chairman of the Bach Long Vi People’s Committee, said his district has been prioritizing three strategic missions for socio-economic development by 2020, which are protecting the national sovereignty over seas and islands, building infrastructure system and developing the economy based on sea and island.

Bach Long Vi, together with Song Cam, Dinh Vu, Lach Huyen, Nam Do Son, formed the main terminals of Hai Phong seaport.

Endowed with a huge resource of valuable marine creatures, Bach Long Vi has chosen fishery and services as its spearheaded sectors.

From 2017, the locality is aiming to develop a wide range of key services, including logistics, oil & gas, banking, insurance, marine medicine and finance.

Bach Long Vi has all potentials needed to become a hub of eco-tourism as well as high-end marine and convalescence tourism in the future.

The local authorities are also working to make the Bach Long Vi marine reserve set up under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 2630/QD-TTG operate in a more efficient manner.

The Bach Long Vi marine reserve is among the eight biggest fishing grounds in the Gulf of Tonkin. Its fish and squid reserve amount to 78,000 and 5,000 tonnes, of which 38,000 and 2,500 tonnes can be caught on an annual basis. People also found sea cucumbers and abalones gathering in large here in addition to the residency of many rare and endemic species.

The sea-based economic activities have contributed to better the living standards of islanders. 

Recently, the Hai Phong youth association has launched a number of projects in a bid to accelerate the economic growth in the Bach Long Vi island district.

One of these projects is the construction of a clean water reservoir with a capacity of 60,000 cubic metres. Under a total investment of almost 188.2 billion VND (8.3 million USD), the project will soon complete its first phase.

Once become operational, it is expected to supply 500 local residents with drinkable water and contribute to encouraging more people to relocate to the island.

The youth association has also put an abalone breeding centre into operation, which helped create jobs for locals, protect the environment and sustainably develop the economy.

According to Dao Trong Tue, Vice Chairman of the Bach Long Vi district People’s Committee, the district recorded positive outcomes in socio-economic and cultural development in the first half of 2016 that exceeded all quotas set for the period.

Bach Long Vi will steer future development of its economy towards industry & construction, trade & commerce and agro-fishery, with average budget collection growing between 12 and 15 percent per year.

Maritime economic expansion, sovereignty protection well combined

The development of maritime economy and the safeguarding of national defence, security and sovereignty at sea must be combined as one of major measures set forth to implement the strategy on exploitation and sustainable use of maritime resources and environment to 2020 with a vision towards 2030.

The strategy, which was approved by the Prime Minister on September 6, 2013, aims to raise the contribution of the maritime and coastal economy to the country’s GDP to 53-55 percent, said Nguyen Dinh Tuan Le from the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment.

It targets tackling social issues and making considerable improvements in the living conditions for locals in coastal areas by doubling their average per capita income compared to the country’s average amount.

He held that the goals are reachable as Vietnam has a great advantage of 3,260km of coastline and a sea area of more than 1 million square kilometers, along with more than 3,000 islands and islets dotted in 28 cities and provinces nationwide.

The potential and advantage also affirm the significant and strategic role of sea and islands in the national construction and defence, said Le.

He noted that the scale of the maritime and coastal economy has been expanded rapidly, reflected by obvious changes in economic structure and the emerging of new economic sectors.

In 2000, the maritime and coastal economic sector contributed 47 percent of the country’s GDP. Many islands have high potential in economic growth, including Phu Quoc in southern coastal Kien Giang province and Cat Ba and Van Don in northern coastal Quang Ninh province.

In order to further increase the role of the maritime economy, it is necessary to strengthen offshore fishing and adjust coastal fishery, boosting the development of environmental friendly aquatic farming, said Le.

He also underscored the necessity of developing a fishery logistics service system, including seaports, shipbuilding, ship repair and fishing equipment facilities, storage, processing and consumption services, along with communications, search and rescue operations at sea.

The Government has also issued a policy to support fishermen, giving soft loans with an interest rate of 3 percent in 10 years for the building of steel-hull vessels for offshore fishing.

As part of efforts to assist fishermen in operating at sea and contributing to safeguarding the national sovereignty over sea and islands, the banking system has supported fishermen in upgrading their old vessels and building new ones.

The State Bank of Vietnam has launched a 10 trillion VND package for fishermen who will also receive subsidy for 50 percent of loan interest rates from the central and local budgets.

At the same time, the Party and State have recently adjusted the strategy for maritime economic development in line with strengthening defence and security to suit the new mindset on seas and oceans, while increasing communications on national defence and improve capacity for those who operate at sea and islands.

Research on sea strategies of other countries in the region and the world will be conducted to help design suitable maritime policies to effectively protect the national sovereignty over seas and islands.

International relations activities will be promoted to ensure the efficiency of the upcoming Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, while the legal and policy system will also be completed.

Meanwhile, the organisation of authorised forces, including maritime liaison, fishery inspection and coast guard forces, has been strengthened.

Currently, authorised agencies are also zoning maritime areas basing on the ecosystem and planning, thus defining areas exclusively for defence activities.

The local governments in island localities have also been supported to improve their capacity to forge stronger socio-economic development in their localities and organize local forces efficiently serving the safeguard of national sovereignty over seas and islands.

The solidarity among fishermen and between them and authorised agencies, especially maritime border guards, is also crucial in building a people-based defence.

Da Nang set to achieve robust maritime economic growth

The central coastal city of Da Nang has issued a planning for the economic development of sea and island areas to 2020 with the aim to optimise the locality’s strength and potential to create socio-economic development breakthroughs.

The planning, seen as part of the city’s efforts to realise Vietnam’s sea and island strategy to 2020, also clarifies prioritised areas and projects for both local and foreign investments in sea and island areas.

Da Nang is among the 28 coastal localities of Vietnam and one of the 14 central cities and provinces having the coastline. Six out of its eight districts border the sea. The city has 90km of the coastline and 80 percent of population living in coastal districts and wards.

Thanks to its wide sea area, Da Nang city has high potential in fishery, tourism and sea transportation.

The city’s sea has a fishery reserve of about 1.14 million tonnes, accounting for 43 percent of the country’s total, with more than 670 species, including 110 species with high economic values.

The south Hai Van-Son Tra peninsular area is home to a diverse ecosystem, including coral reefs, sea grass, seaweeds and rare creatures and plants.

With a goal to become a fishery centre of the central region posting a 14-15 percent growth in seafood exports per year, Da Nang has set to focus on offshore fishing and minimize near-shore fishing activities in a bid to restore and preserve fishery resources. The city aims to rapidly expand the fleet of offshore fishing vessels with high capacity and upgrade those with small capacity.

The city has paid much attention to vocational training to provide high quality workforce with skills and knowledge needed to operate modern fishing equipment to serve the fishery sector.

At the same time, Da Nang has invested in a fleet of 10 fishery logistic vessels with a capacity of 800-1,000CV each, thus supplying fuel and at the same time buying fresh seafood at sea. It fishermen are being supported by modern communication information system when operating at sea.

To improve catch output and minimize human and property losses during operations at sea, the city has issued a regulation on fishermen’s teams that laid the foundation for the activity of gathering individuals to an organization in which members help each other in production as well as in search and rescue activities, safeguard the traditional fishing grounds, assist each other in the procurement of fishing tools and equipment, connect vessels, maintain contacts between fishermen at sea and the mainland, and receive weather forecast and guidelines on disaster response and search and rescue from the mainland.

The model has been lauded by local fishermen who found that the groups meet their demands during their production at sea.

Vu Dieu Ngan from the Da Nang Institute for Socio-economic Development Research said that to make the maritime economy play the core role in the city’s economy, Da Nang should focus on strengthening fishing activities, especially offshore fishing, while continuing improving the capacity and effectiveness of the sector.

She also stressed the importance of increasing the application of science and technology as well as quipping modern equipment for fishing vessels.

The city should expand the seafood processing system for exports, while upgrading Da Nang port to ensure its performance as the gateway to the sea for the Central Highlands as well as Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and other northeastern Asian countries, said Ngan.

Meanwhile, Dan Hung from the municipal People’s Committee said that the city has exerted efforts to implement commitments to the development of the maritime economy, while resolutely safeguarding the country’s sovereignty over sea and islands.

The city has built its own strategy to realize the country’s sea and island strategy, with solutions and steps suitable to the country’s conditions while  making the best use of foreign investment and technology to conquer the sea, serving the country’s economic development in a rapid and sustainable manner, said Hung.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau: Oyster farming brings stable incomes to locals

Oyster farming has really become a major source of income for farmers living in Long Son island commune in the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Ironically, they have developed this aquaculture industry accidentally while rearing other fisheries sources. 

It is interesting to discover that Long Son farmers expanded oyster cultivation after realizing that saltwater clams would cling to the cages of farmed fish and shrimp. This inspired the idea of raising and processing oysters to be sold as a high source of nutrition.

Thanks to its proximity to sea, Long Son waters have favourable natural conditions for oyster farming, with year-round warm temperatures and acceptable levels of salt.

According to Ms. Le Kim Thoa, Director of the Sea and Island Research Centre under the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, Long Son island commune has a large mangrove forest area which is home to various ephemeral organisms serving as natural food for oysters. 

Long Son farmers raise oysters in cages and on pales. The aquaculture does not require large investments but it generates high income for locals.

No feed is needed to raise oysters because they grow by absorbing various ephemeral organisms. Meanwhile the oyster breeding does no harm to the environment. 

However, local oyster breeders have faced many poor yields after river water is affected by hazardous waste from surrounding factories.

“We can harvest oysters after one year of aquaculture and have another crop in the following months,” said Mr. Nguyen Le Hung, a farmer from Long Son commune.

“Difficulties emerge from raising oysters on pales because we only harvest them when the tide ebbs. These days, we have earned some low yields since the water is polluted,” Hung added.

Long Son oysters weigh up to 300grams, much larger than those adrift at sea. Therefore, it can be hard to lift them without support.

The third lunar month is the best time to enjoy dishes created from fresh oysters, and so the consumption of Long Son oysters peaks at this time of year.

A few farmers have tried combining oyster raising with other aquaculture and fish rearing.

More than 700 households in Long Son commune form a combined farming area of 750 ha, yielding around 6,000 tonnes of seafood. They can earn some 500 USD a year from each oyster cage, bringing their annual income to 5,000 USD with 10 oyster cages.

Living standards of local residents have been much improved thanks to stable income generated from the oyster aquaculture. 

Director Le Kim Thoa said economic benefits generated from oyster breeding helps improve living standards of local people while the commune’s infrastructure has been improved.

Oysters raised in Long Son commune are sold at farms and often processed into dishes to serve tourists at some floating houses on the Rang river.

We can enjoy fresh oysters with some slice of lemon and sauces including red pepper.

Mr. Vo Van Mui, Chairman of the Long Son communal People’s Committee, said the Long Son oyster brand is quite popular in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province and Ho Chi Minh City. The locality plans to protect and promote the brand.

It is worrying, however, that Long Son farmers only pay attention to making profits from the aquaculture and do not realise the significant role of oyster in maintaining the bio-diversity of the marine ecosystem.

Scientists suggested it is advisable to apply advanced technologies in practising oyster aquaculture while looking towards the sustainable development of oyster farming.

Agro-forestry-aquaculture export at 2.54 billion USD in January

The export turnover of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture in January is estimated at 2.54 billion USD, a year-on-year decrease of 1.4 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Of which, aquatic products earned 518 million USD, down 5 percent against the same period last year, while major forestry products brought home 652 million USD, up 2.1 percent year-on-year. 

Vietnam exported about 325 tonnes of rice worth 136 million USD in the review period, a year-on-year decreases of 32 percent in quality and 35.1 percent in value, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, 127,000 tonnes of coffee were shipped abroad in January for 287 million USD, down 25.5 percent in volume and 3.6 percent in value against the same period last year.

Strong tumbles were recorded in the export value of other farm products such as tea, cashew nut, pepper, and cassava.

The country earned 16 million USD from exporting 11,000 tonnes of tea in the period, reducing by 3.6 percent in volume and 8.6 percent in value compared to those in January last year. 

The export of cashew nut saw decreases of 20 percent and 4.4 percent in terms of volume and value, respectively. 

Rubber was the only product maintaining stable export growth, with 193 million USD earned from shipments of 102,000 tonnes, up 84.8 percent in value  and 10.5 percent in volume from the same period last year.

Administrative reform for maritime sector comes to reality

The maritime sector is stepping up its administrative reform, enabling all of Vietnam’s vessels operating domestic routes to apply administrative procedures online.

Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration Nguyen Xuan Sang said it is a noticeable step, promising to create a turning point in the maritime sector’s administrative procedure reforms.

He cited that the maritime sector is one of the first sectors to connect to the National E-information Portal. 

According to the director, the Vietnam Maritime Administration proposed cutting time for administrative procedures. It mapped out and submitted to the Ministry of Transport a plan on the perfection of nearly 130 administrative procedures in the maritime sector. It also made public its administrative procedures in order to create favourable conditions for organisations, individuals and businesses.

According to the Deputy Director of the Maritime Administration of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh, Vu Ngoc Bich, as one of the country’s biggest sea ports, Quang Ninh port was selected to become the first to implement administrative procedure reform, including e-procedures.

The national one-stop-shop mechanism has been carried out at the port since mid-2015, and the Maritime Administration of Quang Ninh province has coordinated with relevant authorities to implement the e-procedure for all vessels, Deputy Director Vu Ngoc Bich added.

Le Xuan Tien, an official of the Bac Dang Transport Limited Company, acknowledged that thanks to administrative procedure reforms, processing time for vessels coming or leaving ports in Quang Ninh province has been reduced. Ship owners can register for e-procedures before the vessel moors or leaves port, helping businesses and traders save time and costs.

The Maritime Administration of Quang Ninh province and other port authorities nationwide have posted administrative documents at their offices. If businesses submit their documents online, processing time for the documents only takes 15 minutes or less.

Dao Trong Hung, a representative of Vietfrach, said declaring documents under the “one stop shop” model has become easier, the model now requires only 10 papers instead of 36 papers previously for vessels coming to the port and 6 papers compared to 17 papers previously when the vessel leaves port.

With significant improvements, many enterprises revealed that the mechanism has helped maritime transport firms save hundreds of millions of Vietnam dong a month.

Nguyen Hai Nam, Director of the Maritime Administration of Ho Chi Minh City, said his administration developed a website and information on the sector, port, vessels and administrative procedures that has been continuously updated. 

The initiative aims to disclose information, administrative procedures, and create favourable conditions for enterprises and individuals to understand legal regulations.

Director Nguyen Hai Nam said starting from March 1 this year, the Maritime Administration of Ho Chi Minh City introduced e-procedures to Vietnam’s sea vessels operating domestic routes. Under the programme, the port’s officials can receive, approve and check documents online. Ship owners and agents do not need to submit documents at the port office in person.

However, the director admitted there are still some difficulties in implementing the programme, including payment method as fees are mainly paid in cash at port offices.

Binh, Deputy Director of the Maritime Administration of Quang Ninh, said to effectively implement the national one-stop-stop mechanism, it is necessary to perfect features and add search tools on the national e-information portal.

He proposed that the use of e-signatures should be approved and ports can issue e-leaving licenses, together with e-payment and e-invoices so ship owners and dealers do not need to come to port offices to receive and submit documents.

Maritime trademark - key for maritime economic growth, Algeria ranks fourth among Vietnam’s export destinations in Africa, Tourism expected to drive Hai Phong forward, Khanh Hoa designates Van Phong bay as key economic zone