Cat Lai Port faces container backlog due to shortage of workers

Besides the difficulty of the number of containers jammed at the port, Cat Lai Port is also facing a serious shortage of labor.
According to the Saigon Newport Corporation, to solve the number of containers piled up at Cat Lai port, it has proposed the General Department of Vietnam Customs to allow it to move imported goods and containers, which have been jammed over 90 days, from Cat Lai Port to store and deliver to customers and liquidate at Saigon Newport's facilities, namely Tan Cang Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City and inland container depots, including Tan Cang Long Binh, Tan Cang Nhon Trach in Dong Nai Province, and Tan Cang Song Than in Binh Duong Province. Saigon Newport is committed to being responsible for the original condition of the seals and goods when transferring and storing.

Besides the difficulty of the number of containers jammed at the port, Cat Lai Port is also facing a serious shortage of labor. Currently, the number of workers at the port has decreased by 50 percent compared to before, to only 250 people. Reducing the management of workers to one hub instead of dividing each team of workers to load and unload vessels also does not help Cat Lai Port improve the labor shortage. Even in recent days, many vessels have to wait for the quay due to a lack of workers or wait for workers to rest or recover from having to work continuously. Meanwhile, the three-on-site production model applied to the force of stevedores at the port is not effective because many activities take place outdoors in a scattered way.
In addition, the yard of Cat Lai Port is close to being fully occupied. On the other hand, a large number of workers living in the same place will increase the risk of spreading the disease. Leaders of Saigon Newport proposed the People's Committee of HCMC to prioritize the workforce of the Cat Lai Port, including contracted workers, satellite stevedores, and other subjects, to work at the port regularly. This company also suggested the city allow the number of workers needed in the production line at the port, if not residing in the blocked residential areas, to go to the port for work.
Saigon Newport will coordinate with health agencies to test and screen according to regulations. It proposed the city to issue or guide the form of a pass for convenient circulation, even after 6 p.m. – the city’s curfew, suitable to working conditions in shifts at the port, especially for those who have to travel frequently at many different timeframes to serve the arrival and departure of vessels. As for workers residing in Nhon Trach District of Dong Nai Province, Saigon Newport proposed HCMC and Thu Duc City allow them to pass through Cat Lai Ferry to go the port for work if they have a certificate proving that they are employees of the port and a valid negative Covid-19 test result.
According to Saigon Newport Corporation, in the past three weeks, the number of containers backlogged at Cat Lai Port has reached its full capacity, while the number of workers has been halved, putting the port at risk of disrupting operations. The reason is that the number of vehicles going to the terminal to receive containers has continuously decreased since the implementation of social distancing.
Currently, the volume of goods and containers jammed at Cat Lai Port has peaked, especially since the yard for imported goods is about to run out of vacancy. With the feature of regularly operating at maximum capacity, if goods are moved slowly, causing the number of containers stockpiled at the port to highly increase, Cat Lai Port may have to stop receiving container vessels and wait for goods clearance like some ports in the US and Europe before.

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