Japan, US top H1 exporters of scrap to Vietnam

July 31, 2018 | 04:45 pm PT
Japan, US top H1 exporters of scrap to Vietnam
Tan Cang Cat Lai had more than 8,000 TEUs of plastic waste and paper as of May 21. Photo by VnExpress/D.L.
Japan and the U.S. were the two top exporters of scrap into Vietnam in the first six months of this year.

One-fourth of the four million tons of scrap imported into Vietnam came from Japan, and the US was second with 960,000 tons, Tran Duc Hung, deputy head of Vietnam Customs Office said at a recent meeting in Hanoi to discuss ways to better control scrap imports.

Total value of imported scrap reached $1.2 billion in the first six months, higher than the total figure for the whole of 2016, which was $1 billion.

As of June, more than 5,600 containers were stuck at Vietnam’s four largest ports, not claimed by any business.

Most of these containers carry expired animal viscera, or plastic or metallic waste and used clothes, said a scrap importer in Ho Chi Minh City who asked not be named.

The Tan Cang Cai Mep International Terminal has said that the large quantity of plastic waste containers the port has received has caused troublesome backups and delays. The port currently has 1,132 TEUs (1 TEU equals a 39-cubic-meter container) of plastic scrap.

Tan Cang Cat Lai, one of Vietnam’s largest shipping terminals, had more than 8,000 TEUs of plastic waste and paper as of May 21.

Both terminals, which are operated by the Saigon Newport Corporation, are no longer accepting plastic scrap.

Scrap that causes environmental pollution or doesn’t meet legal requirements will be returned to the country where it came from, said Mai Xuan Thanh, deputy general director of Vietnam Customs. It is the law that all containers are opened for customs officials to check if there is anything illegal inside them, but this is not an easy task, he said.

“There is not enough space at the ports, and businesses won’t put the goods back into the containers after they are checked,” said Thanh.

Another challenge lies in identifying which business has been permitted to import scrap, as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has not made this data accessible online, he added.

Vietnam has become a hot destination for scrap since China said no to scrap imports from January 1 this year.

Over 900 Vietnamese firms import paper, plastic and metal scrap for use in manufacturing, according to Vietnam Customs.

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