Cat Lai is massive. The amount of containers that I saw and the fact that they weigh tons didn’t even do the place justice in terms of large scale. They provide terminal service to ship out goods and also take goods in from their respective companies, as well as logistic services. They have huge magnets to help transport the containers to and from vessels or barges and they then record each container in their software system to track where each container is at their site. The containers also go through a x-ray machine and get a blue, yellow, or red color designation, which determines the level of documentation they have to show to pass inspection. Unless the company has gone through customs prior, they have to go through customs with documentation at the terminal site. A lot of ports are on the edge of Vietnam, but this location is near Ho Chi Minh City and in-land off of a river to help dilute the affects of the rainy season, which takes over half of the Vietnamese year. However, the ocean can handle bigger vessels, so the company is thinking about opening another terminal in Vung Tau, where we were at the beach on Saturday. As development occurs, Cat Lai terminal is tending to encourage exports more and enforce less harsh customs for exports. When walking around the terminal, we discovered some workers carrying 50 kg bags of rice into a container and then sealing and locking the door of the container with a couple very loud swings from a sledgehammer.
After a delicious food court lunch of duck with rice, fried chicken with cheese, and blueberry soda, we visited the Reunification Palace, which housed the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and was the site of the North Vietnamese tank crashing into the gate. This signified the end to a long civil war, which involved two bombs being dropped on this palace seen in my picture at the end of this post. It’s a big symbol of the coming together of this country after the war, so it was cool to tour all the rooms and look out the rooftop.