Photos: Abandoned $145mn steel plant in northern Vietnam


Updated : 06/01/2017 13:26 GMT + 7

The ‘legacy’ of the infamous, and now defunct, state-run Vinashin not only includes a loss-making shipbuilder and its debt-ridden subsidiaries, but also a deserted multimillion-dollar steel in northern Vietnam.

In 2011, state-owned shipbuilding firm Vinashin officially collapsed. The company was ‘revitalized’ two years later under the new name of Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC).

The people behind the restructuring were upbeat, announcing that it would only take SBIC five years to fully recover, an outlook that proved overly optimistic.

The Dung Quat Shipyard, a Vinashin subsidiary the company was forced to transfer to other state-run companies before its collapse, is on the verge of bankruptcy in spite of a hefty US$225 million financial injection meant to boost its performance.

A number of the now SBIC-run shipbuilders are operating mere fractions their actual capacity, and the parent company reported more than VND5.4 trillion ($237.89 million) in losses for 2016.

Sharing the fate of these facilities is the Hai Phong-based Cai Lan steel mill, a VND3.3 trillion ($145.37 million) facility which broke ground in 2003 under the misguided hope of supplying hot rolled steel sheets for Vinashin’s shipbuilding operations.

In 2010, the plant entered a test run, eventually producing 5,000 metric tons of steel sheeting that met international standards. While the company was able to export 3,000 tons of its first batch to the U.S., the remainder is still gathering dust at the mill.

Along with nearly 2,000 tons of surplus steel sheeting sits $50 million worth of equipment and machinery.

Not a single worker is spotted in the main production area, spanning dozens of thousands of square meters.

The mill is operated by SBIC-owned CAILANSHINCO, which has been tasked with finding a solution to ‘save’ the costly project.

CAILANSHINCO has proposed transferring the plant, dissolving the plant, or declaring bankruptcy, all of which are infeasible as no investor would find interest in a deteriorating steel mill whose developer is besieged by huge debts, according to a company source.

Privatization is also a solution, but again “it is not easy to find a private investor with healthy financial muscles and a fondness for the hot rolled steel sheet sector,” the source said.

Below are the latest photos of the Cai Lan steel mill taken by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Huge machines gather dust at the plant.

Huge machines gather dust at the plant.

Machines collect rust at the plant.

The costliest piece of machinery at the plant, worth more than $2 million, now lies dormant.

A rusted steel ingot sits at the plant.

One of the steel sheets produced in the trial-run in 2010 is seen at the plant.

Dust and rust are omnipresent at the plant.

Dust and rust are omnipresent at the plant.

Rusted machines are left abandoned at the plant, some of which have been destroyed by seawater.

Rusted machines are left abandoned at the plant, some of which have been destroyed by seawater.

Computers and furniture remain inside an operating room, whose doors are however locked and sealed.

Nguyen Van Nam, one of the 41 guards hired to protect the plant

A half-built manufacturing plant

This section of the Cai Lan plant is leased to a cement maker, which provides the company with money to maintain operations.

This entry was posted in Doanh nghiệp nhà nước - State owned enterprises, Economics - Kinh tế and tagged , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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