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Jammed Vietnamese port restricts waste imports

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Vietnam has warned that one of its main ports is so full of material diverted from China that it will restrict imports.

China has severely restricted the import of many waste materials citing contamination issues, leaving shipping lines to divert to other countries as best they can.

A letter from the authorities at Tang Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal, sent to shipping companies and to the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), said that, from 15 June, all recovered paper and plastic scrap cargoes must have a valid import permit along with a letter showing when the container would be collected by a customer in Vietnam.

It added that, from 25 June to 15 October, the port would stop accepting containers of plastic scrap, although paper would be accepted. The situation would be reviewed after 15 October.

An ISRI statement said: “This notice comports with rumours that Vietnamese customers had no more room for imported materials, and that the build-up of containers of recovered paper and plastic scrap diverted from China were causing delays at Vietnam’s main import terminal.

“ISRI is confident that this is more to do with port capacity constraints and not a permanent regulatory shift, but we will be vigilant about watching these developments and, as always, provide updates as they come in.”

The letter said imports of paper and plastic scrap had led to a backlog of 1,132 shipping containers at Cat Lai port, and they could not be moved due to capacity problems.

Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: ”Vietnam is absolutely rammed, so it is no great surprise that they are taking a step back to look at what they have and what is still on the water.

“People have been exporting post-China to Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries, and it was always a bit naive to think they would just take huge quantities willy-nilly.”


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