This morning, we visited Saigon Newport Corporation, who owns the Cat Lai Terminal. It looked straight out of those scenes in movies where there’s a fight scene in the shipyard between giant cargo crates! Cat Lai is the largest container port in Vietnam and they hold hundreds of cargo containers for imports, exports, storage, and just general transportation. Hai Phong and Da Nang are the other two largest ports. Managing all these containers takes a lot of effort, especially since all containers need to be inspected. They group the containers into 3 groups. Group 1 are the containers that passed the inspection and are ready to be transported. Group 2 are containers that raised some concerns, and the owner needs to come to the terminal and present documents to be rechecked by the customs officers. Group 3 are the containers that basically failed the inspection and are subject to an X-Ray and physical examination. Cat Lai is the most modern port, so they have a computer system that efficiently organizes and keeps track of all the freight. It also has convenient and immediate access to the country’s highway network, so it’s in a very ideal location. It’s also only 43 nautical miles from the pilot port in Vung Tau, which is where we went on our beach resort day!
After our company visit, we went to the Independence Palace (also known as Reunification Palace). It was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was also where the war ended during the Fall of Saigon, when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates. This place is important to the Vietnamese because it marked the end of the war and was a step towards reconciliation. It’s just a symbol for the people of Vietnam. It was really cool to see where the President worked, the “secret” basement where all the technology, radios, phones, etc. were held, and the bunkers. It was really beautiful and super decorated, and the private movie theater was something to be jealous of. Tomorrow is our last blog post, so signing off for the second to last time!