Belgian logistics companies, especially those from the Flanders region, have been active in the Vietnamese market. Wouter Vanhees, trade and investment counsellor of Flanders Investment and Trade in Vietnam, spoke with VIR’s Thanh Van about the interest of Belgian companies in Vietnam’s logistics market.
|Wouter Vanhees, trade and investment counsellor of Flanders Investment and Trade in Vietnam|
What are some of the factors that make Vietnam attractive to Belgian logistics companies, especially those from the Flanders region?
Vietnam is a country with rapid economic growth. A large part of that growth is fuelled by international trade, mostly exports from Vietnam to many different global markets, including Europe. Belgian companies in many different business sectors recognise Vietnam as a growth market, and are increasingly interested to tap into the business opportunities it offers. This also includes companies in the logistics sector. At the end of the day, all the products and goods that are manufactured in Vietnam need to be transported and distributed to global customers.
Many logistics companies offer their services to Vietnamese manufacturers that are looking for European partners to support the distribution and delivery of their products. Other logistics companies from Flanders have already invested in Vietnam to support the flow of these goods at the source.
Could you share some examples of Belgian logistics companies operating in Vietnam?
Some companies from Flanders have been investing in Vietnam for years. They have warehouse facilities here, and support import and export of certain products into and from Vietnam. Rent-A-Port NV, a Belgian-based company that specialises in the development of marine infrastructures and industrial zones, works with Deep C Industrial Zones in the northern port city of Haiphong. Meanwhile, Katoen Natie’s branch in Vietnam was founded in 2003, and offers all-in-one logistic services all throughout Vietnam.
Molenbergnatie Vietnam is the first and only foreign company in Vietnam, with its own bonded warehouse license for the storage and logistics of agricultural products. Another logistics provider is Manuchar, which has rolled out a wide range of supply chain services throughout Vietnam since 1996, and is still continuing its expansion.
How do you think Belgian logistics companies will capitalise on the opportunities of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA)?
The EVFTA will bring a boost in trade between the EU and Vietnam. To support that growth, Flanders and our logistics ecosystem come into the picture. Flanders is situated literally in the heart of Europe: 60 per cent of European purchasing power is located within a radius of 500 kilometres of our region. Flanders is extremely well-connected to global and regional markets. The efficient transport infrastructure and the local ecosystem of logistics companies are important factors in that connection. Although Flanders is geographically a small region, it boasts four seaports. The port of Antwerp is Europe’s second largest. Another is the port of Zeebrugge, which is the world’s largest car handling port.
Throughout the years, our region has built up tremendous expertise in the field of internal waterways. This is also an area in which we have been cooperating with the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport for more than 20 years, by sharing that expertise and thus supporting the development of Vietnam’s internal waterway system.
Our region is currently home to more than 650 European distribution centres (EDCs). These are, in most cases, large-scale logistics centres that handle goods produced worldwide, and distributed all over the EU market.
Many types of goods manufactured in Vietnam already pass through some of these EDCs. I’m convinced that the implementation of the EVFTA will offer many new opportunities like this, to Vietnamese companies with the intent of further developing their growth in Europe.
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