05/17/2017 – Cat Lai Terminal

Today, I visited Cat Lai Terminal, one of the largest shipping ports in Vietnam. It belongs to Saigon Newport Corporation, an operator for container terminals. It manages cargo flow into and out of the port, and the value of the imports and exports it handles accounts for a large portion of Vietnam’s total trade amount.

When handling its freight with customs, Cat Lai splits cargo into three groups: A “good-to-go” group, in which no further examination needs to be done; a “might-be-bad” group, in which the cargo must be checked over; and a “probably bad” group, in which a thorough examination is performed on the contents of the cargo. Since there is such a huge number of containers in its port, Cat Lai needed an efficient way to keep track of everything. Years ago, it implemented an electronic system that vastly simplified the process of recording freight data and made everything much easier to manage.

The port’s location on the water allows for easy transportation to a larger river and out to the ocean, leading to efficient international shipping. It is also built along a major highway system that allows for heavy loads, so it thrives in domestic shipping as well. If this port were built in a different location, it is possible that it would not be able to handle the kinds and amounts of goods that it does now. Not many other ports in Vietnam are able to accomplish what Cat Lai does, making it a sure leader in the shipping industry.

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