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Several years after they came to the market, the new deepwater facilities  near Vung Tau in Vietnam remain painfully under-utilised, despite growing volumes in the country as it benefits from factories moving from neighbouring China, where costs are rising. Some estimates put the cumulative losses of the new terminals at $1.5bn and rising. The chief problem is overcapacity, both nationally and locally. Every province in the country has plans for a deepsea port, while in the Mekong delta area, which stretches from Vung Tau – known as Cai Mep in port circles – up to Saigon, where there is still a series of shallow, inner-city terminals offering low rates for feeder ships that by-pass Vietnam’s deepsea terminals and make straight for Singapore.

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