Vietnam ports place restrictions on plastics and paper recycling imports

Tan Cang -Cai Mep port
Tan Cang - Cai Mep port in Vietnam

Two key Vietnamese ports have imposed restrictions on the import of recycled paper and plastics following a build-up of unclaimed containers.

Over 8,000 containers of recycling imports have built up at Tan Cang – Cat Lai port waiting for delivery to buyers in Vietnam. This has led to overcapacity issues at the port.


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While at Tan Cang – Cai Mep port, 1,132 containers remain unclaimed at dockside.

As a result, Saigon Newport Corporation that operates these ports has decided to place restrictions on imports of recyclable materials with Cat Lai already no longer receiving imports of recyclable material.

In a letter sent to shipping lines and customers, it outlined that from 15 June, containers will only be discharged at Cai Mep if they have a valid import permit and written confirmation specifying the pick-up date of the containers. If the correct documentation cannot be supplied, then the containers will need to be discharged at another port prior to arrival at Cai Mep.

Then from 25 June to 15 October, both ports will no longer take containers of plastic scrap, while boxes containing recyclable paper will need to provide the import permit and written confirmation of the pick-up date.

While it is seen as the largest port in Indonesia, Cat Lai is not a deep water facility, so acts as a feeder port from other Asian (typically Singapore) and Vietnamese ports. The smaller  Cai Mep port however has direct routes to Europe and the US.

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