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Vietnamese feeder operator Hai An is to launch a joint-venture with Israeli carrier Zim to transport Vietnamese exports.
As Vietnam grows as a manufacturing centre, the South-east Asian country wants to carry more of its exports on domestic ships, and Lotus Link will launch next month from the ports of Ho Chi Minh, Danang and Hai Phong.
The JV is also targeting Vietnam’s satellite provinces and hinterlands, where direct access to international and domestic shipping services is limited. Lotus Link will also provide landside services, such as trucking and customs brokerage.
Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo told The Loadstar the service would connect the Vietnamese ports with Malaysia’s Port Klang, with Hai An controlling the Vietnamese leg.
Hai An has been, by far, the most active Vietnamese boxship operator in building up its fleet. It owns 10 vessels of over 11,000 teu and last year bought three 2008-built feeder vessels from Goto Shipping, Minsheng Financial Leasing and Nisshin Kisen. The carrier also has two 1,800 teu ships on order at Huanghai Shipbuilding for delivery this year.
General director Mark Vu said: “The JV is a significant development for Zim and Hai An, but is especially meaningful for us as we celebrate our tenth anniversary in domestic shipping this year and plan to expand its regional operation. Our JV with Zim will offer more choices for Vietnam importers and exporters and help save logistics costs.”
Zim, which has been focused on services west of Suez, is eyeing a slice of the healthy intra-Asia market as east-west trade volumes revert to pre-pandemic levels.
Vietnam country manager Abraham Elias said: “With the rapid expansion of manufacturing activities to satellite provinces, the JV provides Zim the operational flexibility to extend its reach and expand the scope of services offered to customers.”
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