More than 500 containers still stuck at China border

By Anh Minh   February 12, 2020 | 03:45 am PT
More than 500 containers still stuck at China border
Fruit containers awaiting clearance at Tan Thanh Border Gate in the northern province of Lang Son. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
With very slow clearance of containers of agricultural produce, more than 500 are stuck at the Chinese border, a new report says.

China’s request to delay the reopening of several minor Vietnam-China border checkpoints until the end of the month has greatly affected cross-border trade of agricultural goods, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import and Export Department (IED) said in a report Tuesday.

At major border gates that have been reopened, like the Huu Nghi and the Kim Thanh II gates in the northern provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai, customs clearance has been slow on the Chinese side because they lack personnel.

Just 95 containers were cleared to enter China in the two days prior to the date of the report, IED said.

Currently, around 300 containers carrying all types of goods are stuck at Kim Thanh II border gate, while another 106 carrying perishable goods like fruit - dragon fruit, jackfruit, chili, longan – are waiting outside the Huu Nghi border gate. Just 37 containers have been cleared in the previous two days, the report said.

At three other border gates in Lang Son, over one hundred dragon fruit containers, and 37 carrying steel are also stuck awaiting clearance.

Meanwhile, at the Mong Cai border gate in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh, 30 trucks carrying 450 tons of fruit of all kinds are awaiting clearance, and authorities are expecting another 500 tons on fruit contracted for export to China to arrive soon.

Around 36,800 tons of cassava starch is currently being stored at Quang Ninh’s ports, and another 20,000 tons are making their way there.

Hundreds of containers had been stuck at northern border gates since late January when customs authorities of Vietnam and China decided to keep the gates closed over the rising severity of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have released statements advising traders to temporarily suspend taking goods to the border gates, unless they are exporting through official channels.

China is the largest market for Vietnamese agriculture, forestry and seafood products, accounting for 27.8 percent of the sectors’ exports of almost $8.5 billion last year.

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