20 years of industrial development in Can Tho City

By Hoai Phuong   November 6, 2023 | 05:00 pm PT
From just a few dozen businesses operating in Can Tho's Industrial Parks, the occupancy rate is now nearly 70% and production there is worth nearly VND30 trillion.

In 2004, Can Tho Province be bifurcated into Hau Giang Province and Can Tho City. The latter is the only centrally run city in the Mekong Delta.

Twenty years later, Can Tho City is one of the leading economies in the delta, with industry accounting for more than 31% of output as of 2022.

Western industrial center

Since being recognized as a centrally run city, Can Tho has considered shifting its economy towards industry and services and reducing the agriculture.

In 2004 its industrial production was VND11 trillion, and that has nearly tripled in the 20 years since. The average growth rate of industry in 2004–2007 was 24.27%, higher than the average for the delta.

It was 19.31% in 2007–10, 6.32% in 2011–15, and 6.07% in 2016–2020.

The city began to build industrial parks to attract investment and create jobs right from the outset.

It now has six industrial parks like Thot Not (600 hectares), Tra Noc 1 (100 ha) and Hung Phu 1 (262 ha), which have an occupancy rate of 68%.

They have attracted 256 projects with a total investment of US$1,656 billion, leased 393.5 ha, and provided 43,177 jobs.

In the first seven months of this year, the six industrial parks generated output of US$1.3 billion.

In addition to industrial parks, the city also has many industrial clusters and production facilities that are creating jobs for tens of thousands of people.

Can Tho officials and business executives learn about the VSIP Can Tho industrial park project. Photo by Thanh Nguyen

Can Tho officials and business executives learn about the VSIP Can Tho project. Photo by Thanh Nguyen

Can Tho City's industry have sprung up and developed mainly in Binh Thuy, Cai Rang and O Mon Districts. These are gateways to the city with several advantages in terms of exchanges and connectivity with neighboring provinces.

The industries that are considered key and rank in the leading group in the delta are food and beverages, seafood exports, animal feed, rice milling, wood processing, paper, textiles, sewing, consumer goods ...

Industrial growth over the years has come from the attractiveness of the young and dynamic city. The central urban area in the Mekong Delta has invested in many transport infrastructure projects to increase connectivity with neighboring localities.

In future, the city's traffic connection network is expected to be expanded and upgraded further with 3 expressways, 6 national highways, 1 inter-provincial road, and 20 provincial roads besides urban main roads and express routes.

The city also has a waterway transport network that allows ships up to 20,000 tons and an international airport. This is the premise for continued promotion of industrial development.

A seafood processing facility in Can Tho. Photo courtesy of Can Tho Newspaper

A seafood processing facility in Can Tho. Photo courtesy of Can Tho Newspaper

However, the city’s industrial development still has limitations.

Enterprises operating in Can Tho are mainly small or medium-sized, and the infrastructure is inconsistent.

FDI in Can Tho is in the lower category among centrally run cities. As of the end of September it had 29 FDI projects, while Da Nang had over 100 and Hai Phong had over 700.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are always at the top of the FDI investment list.

A breakthrough expectation in the future

In September 2023, VSIP started construction of the Vinh Thanh-VSIP Can Tho Industrial Park (Vinh Trinh Commune, Vinh Thanh District, Can Tho City) on a 900-hectare site.

Phase 1 with a total area of 293.7 ha and cost VND 3,718 billion. It will be the largest industrial park in the Mekong Delta after only Long An, and it is expected to spearhead Can Tho's growth.

VSIP Can Tho aims to attract industries like electrical and electronics, manufacturing, automobile, machinery, technical industry supporting products, textile and garment, food and beverages, logistics, and warehouse.

The project will have complete infrastructure with telecommunications, security, 24/7 management, water supply reaching 45,000 m3 per day, sewage treatment system and visitor center.

During the commencement ceremony, Daewon Cantavil, Dai Viet, East Rise, Geppexim, Plant-Based French Cake, Sembcorp, Transimex, Yong Long, and Yong Mei, signed a memorandum of understanding in business cooperation with VSIP.

When completed, the Can Tho City government expects the park to attract US$3.5 billion worth of FDI, more than five times the current total. It will create 100,000 jobs, double the number in the six existing industrial parks.

A model of the VSIP Can Tho Industrial Park, phase 1. Photo courtesy of VSIP

A model of the VSIP Can Tho Industrial Park, phase 1. Photo courtesy of VSIP

Koh Chiap Khiong, CEO of Sembcorp Industries for Singapore and Southeast Asia, said the VSIP plans to develop based on Can Tho's strengths, and thus aims to become a food processing and distribution hub.

It will establish a hub-to-port logistics network with additional facilities to support and enhance tenants' supply chain needs.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh wants the VSIP to develop into a four-in-one industrial park, integrating industrial, high-tech and services centers and a residential area.

Assessing the project, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said the VSIP would create a driving force for the socioeconomic development of Can Tho and the Long Xuyen quadrangle.

Bordering three provinces, Dong Thap, An Giang and Hau Giang, VSIP Can Tho is well-connected with ports, an airport and utilities in the center.

Not only industry, but also trade and services benefit, creating an important push to contribute to changing and helping Can Tho develop to match its potential and position as the center of the western region.

VSIP Can Tho Project is an important milestone in the process of turning the Mekong Delta capital into the industrial hub of the region. The city has set itself a goal of developing the aquatic and agricultural products processing and preservation sectors using high technology by 2025. The city plans to spend VND75–80 trillion on this.

Of this, VND13.5–17.6 trillion will come from its coffers and the rest from companies, loans, FDI ...

In its urban plans for 2030, announced on October 20, Can Tho envisages having three economic regions.

Of them, a part of O Mon and Thot Not districts and a part of Thoi Lai, Co Do and Vinh Thanh districts will spearhead new economic development in the north, orienting it into a high-class ecological urban area with industrial markets, commercial ports, services, and logistics.

It is expected that by 2030 the city will have 10 industrial parks with a combined area of more than 2,300 hectares.

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