Update:  GMT+7

Quang Tri holds strategic opportunities for sustainable development

In terms of geographic and economic position, Quang Tri province is strategically located within two national development corridors: the East-West Economic Corridor and the Key Economic Zone in the Central Region, with key development pillars including the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone and the Lao Bao Special Commercial Economic Zone. Notably, it hosts two international border gates, Lao Bao and La Lay. Additionally, Quang Tri boasts the Cua Viet and My Thuy seaports, serving as gateways to the East Sea and vital links to the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. This strategic positioning, connecting the eastern and western regions, presents significant opportunities for rapid and sustainable development in Quang Tri.

Quang Tri holds strategic opportunities for sustainable development

An upgrade of Cua Viet port would serve as the transshipment hub for countries on the East-West Economic Corridor. Photo: H.N.K

Advantages of the eastern side

Located on the eastern side of Quang Tri province, which borders the East Sea with a coastline stretching 75 kilometers, it features two major river mouths, Cua Tung and Cua Viet. The marine ecosystem is rich, with vast fishing grounds and abundant aquatic resources of high economic value. Quang Tri’s coastline boasts beautiful beaches such as Cua Tung, Cua Viet, and My Thuy, providing favorable conditions for tourism development.

Additionally, the abundant potential of Con Co Island offers opportunities for the development of marine and island tourism. The discovery of gas reserves in blocks 112 and 113, approximately 130 kilometers off the coast of Quang Tri, presents an opportunity for the development of energy industries.

Moreover, the establishment of the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone, a multi-sector development area, is expected to be a breakthrough in the economy, forming a major hub for agro-forestry-fisheries processing industries, construction material production, energy, tourism, commerce, services, and the seaport in the Central region.

This aims to make the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone one of the trading centers of the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific regions, driving economic and social development and enhancing Quang Tri province’s position in the North Central region.

Presently, the My Thuy seaport project, led by the My Thuy International Port Joint Stock Company (MTIP), with a total investment of VND14.2 trillion (US$612 million) over 50 years, has resumed after a period of interruption due to land clearance issues and other related procedures in the first quarter of 2024, with construction scheduled to commence by the end of March 2024.

This opportune time for implementation coincides with the completion of technical infrastructure for the development of My Thuy seaport. It represents a connection point for regional development, with investments in transportation infrastructure and airports to develop logistics. Therefore, constructing the deep-water port of My Thuy is crucial, opening up access to the East Sea and fostering economic growth for the province amid global integration and development trends.

Regarding the Cua Viet port, currently spanning an area of 42,000 square meters, with a storage yard of 7,200 square meters and a handling capacity of 2 million tons of goods per year, it can accommodate vessels with a payload of 1,000 DWT. The Cua Viet oil depot occupies 11 hectares of land, with a storage capacity of 45,000 cubic meters, and a specialized oil import dock capable of receiving vessels up to 40,000 DWT, accommodating the largest vessels up to 50,000 cubic meters. The province has also approved a project to invest in technical infrastructure and expand the Cua Viet port with a total investment of over VND80 billion ($3.2 million) to meet future cargo transshipment needs.

The coastal area of the province holds significant importance, providing favorable conditions for socio-economic development, including the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone and the coastal service-tourism route. If the My Thuy area in Hai Lang district is planned for development into a multi-sector economic complex, including industries from manufacturing and thermal power to logistics and seaports, the Cua Viet area in Gio Linh district is envisioned as a center for tourism, culture, and social services, a coastal resort town closely linked to the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone.

This development direction reflects a strategic vision for comprehensive development, particularly as Cua Viet is the endpoint of the East-West Economic Corridor and the expanded Mekong Sub-region, serving as a gateway to the East Sea and facilitating economic development and connectivity with neighboring countries. Thus, the planning direction to develop the coastal area into a multifaceted economic hub serves as a driving force for economic and social development, aligning with current realities and future development requirements.

Opening the western side

The La Lay International Border Gate holds a strategic position conducive to international relations, trade, and services, serving as a gateway linking the central provinces of Vietnam with the southern provinces of Laos and northeastern provinces of Thailand. In recent years, the volume of goods and passengers passing through the border gate has significantly increased. In 2023, the total bilateral trade reached over 261 million USD, contributing 575 billion VND to the state budget, with coal imports alone generating over VND500 billion ($20 million).

In the near future, with the opening of a new route connecting the La Lay International Border Gate to the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone and My Thuy seaport, spanning over 70 kilometers, a new economic corridor will be established parallel to the East-West Economic Corridor.

To create a dynamic economic region in the west and capitalize on the potential advantages to drive regional economic development and interregional connectivity, the province urgently initiated the development plan for the La Lay International Border Gate Economic Area until 2030, with a vision towards 2035.

In addition to mobilizing various investment resources for border infrastructure and facilitating and supporting enterprises in implementing investment projects, the provincial People’s Committee has directed departments, branches, and localities to base on planning to develop a project aimed at forming a new economic corridor parallel to the East-West Economic Corridor, creating a logistics service center. The total capital required to implement the project is estimated at over VND3 trillion ($120 million).

On January 5, 2024, the Government issued Resolution No. 04/NQ-CP on investing in the construction of conveyor belts as part of the project to build a conveyor system for transporting coal from Laos to Vietnam through the international border area at La Lay. Accordingly, the coal transportation project from the Kaleum mine in Sekong province (Laos) through the La Lay International Border Gate to My Thuy port via a conveyor belt with a total length of 160 kilometers is set to be implemented.

In the coal conveyor investment project, the investor will construct a specialized port and port infrastructure capable of accommodating vessels up to 50,000 DWT, with an operating capacity of 30 million tons of goods per year. Once the coal conveyor project from Laos to Vietnam through the La Lay International Border Gate is operational, it will create favorable conditions for enterprises to invest in production and business, expand partnership relations with Salavan province in investment, trade, and logistics to effectively exploit the location advantages along the East-West Economic Corridor (PARA-EWEC), further strengthen connectivity between Sekong - Champasak - Salavan - Quang Tri provinces and the key economic region in the Central through the La Lay International Border Gate, thereby generating new economic growth in the western region of the province.

Bolstering connectivity for development

The eastern coastal area of the province holds a particularly strategic position, conducive to socio-economic development, including the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone and the coastal tourism service line. Importantly, it benefits from a convenient transportation system, with National Highway 9 connecting Cua Viet port to the La Lay International Border Gate, National Highway 9D linking tourist-service points like Cua Viet - Cua Tung - Vinh Moc, and National Highway 49C connecting to the central area of the Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone towards the La Lay International Border Gate.

Furthermore, numerous dynamic projects and infrastructures such as the coastal road connecting the East-West Economic Corridor, the eastern section of the North-South expressway from Van Ninh (Quang Binh) to Cam Lo (Quang Tri), the branch road linking the eastern and western branches of the Ho Chi Minh Road, and the eastern bypass of Dong Ha City are being expedited. Currently, Quang Tri is also inviting PPP investors to participate in projects such as the Cam Lo - Lao Bao expressway and the 15D road connecting My Thuy port to the La Lay International Border Gate.

Once critical infrastructure like roads and railways are invested and constructed, coupled with open, stable, long-term policies and mechanisms, it will lead to breakthroughs in the economy. Especially as the demand for maritime transport in Vietnam increases rapidly after the completion of the trans-Asia route, it presents favorable opportunities for the province to establish a deep-water port complex in My Thuy, the Cua Viet port at the endpoint of National Highway 9 of the East-West Economic Corridor, and the economic corridor along the East-West economic axis.

Additionally, international and regional policies and forums such as the East-West Economic Corridor Cooperation Forum, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) (ASEAN Economic Community aiming for market connectivity and unified production bases; CEPTAFTA customs duty preferential agreement), the Vietnam-Laos-Thailand Trilateral Cooperation Agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the process of deep and broad integration are having certain impacts, providing opportunities for Quang Tri to integrate into the regional economy and accelerate the province’s economic development through connectivity with dynamic economic regions that have been and are forming, with the East-West axis being a prominent example.

Once the connection between the two economic corridors converges at My Thuy, it will create favorable conditions for the development of economic focal points, while also sharing benefits, linking, and cooperating with neighboring countries in development. From here, new growth poles will be created, contributing to the rapid structural transformation of the economy, establishing Quang Tri as one of the centers for exchange and development cooperation with countries in the expanded Mekong sub-region.

Ho Nguyen Kha - Ngoc Mai

Ho Nguyen Kha - Ngoc Mai

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