Overloaded Vietnam shipping terminals take a break from plastic waste

By Dang Khoa   May 29, 2018 | 12:51 am PT
Overloaded Vietnam shipping terminals take a break from plastic waste
Vietnam's largest shipping terminal, Tan Cang Cat Lai. Photo by VnExpress/D.L.
Vietnam became the U.S.'s biggest plastic waste partner in the first quarter of 2018.

Choked by plastic waste, shipping terminals in Vietnam will temporarily stop this commodity from June 25 to October 15, the business journal Resource Recycling Inc. reports.

A letter sent to shipping companies by the Tan Cang Cai Mep International Terminal, obtained by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, says that the vast amount of plastic waste containers the port has received has caused 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.

Vietnam imported 40 million pounds of recovered plastics worth $5.8 million from the U.S. in the first quarter of 2018, making it one of the U.S.’s largest scrap plastic buyers, Resource Recycling Inc. quoted the U.S. Census Bureau as saying.

In contrast, neighboring China has completely cut off importing plastic scrap from other countries.

In trying to tackle the plastic waste problem, starting June 15, terminals are requiring valid import permits and a written guarantee on when the container will be picked up.

From January to November 2017, Vietnam increased its year-on-year imports of PE and PET plastic by more than 166 percent and 137 percent respectively. In November 2017, it was also the biggest importer of scrap plastics marked “mixed/other.”

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