It is Vietnam’s turn to play host to the 2016 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition. With the theme “Innovating and Sustaining Competitiveness in ASEAN Steel Industry”, the event will be held at the JW Marriot Hotel in Hanoi from 30 May to 2 June 2016.
While many countries in the world are struggling with the fall-out from the global economic slowdown and the slower pace of economic growth in China, Vietnam has been able to buck the trend and registered an impressive GDP growth rate of 6.68% in 2015. The growth rate is the highest in South East Asia and it makes Vietnam one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Going forward, most analysts expect Vietnam to be able to sustain an annual growth rate of above 6%, at least in the near term.
The stellar performance of the Vietnamese economy is driven by strong exports, record foreign direct investments and buoyant domestic consumption. It is also helped by the lower oil prices in the world market which has greatly reduced the cost of imported raw materials for Vietnam.
Vietnam’s economic growth rate has been rising steadily since 2012 as the country started to reap the benefits from the economic reforms introduced earlier by the government to address the twin problems of runaway inflation and severe trade deficit. The iron and steel industry in Vietnam has accordingly benefited from the improved performance of the country’s economy over the last few years.
In 2014, Vietnam’s apparent steel consumption surged 22.7% year-on-year to 14.4 million tonnes, enabling the country to overtake Indonesia as the second biggest steel consuming nation in ASEAN, behind Thailand. In the first half of 2015, Vietnam’s steel consumption continued to register an impressive growth rate of 32% year-on-year.
With the surge in steel consumption, Vietnam has also become a major importer of steel products in the region. The country is currently the second biggest export destination for steel products from China, after South Korea.
At the same time, the country is also witnessing a significant increase in investment in its steel sector, both from domestic and foreign sources. Many new/expansion projects have come on stream or are being implemented with domestic investments mainly focusing on the production of long products while foreign investments are prominent in flat products.
It is without doubt that Vietnam is a country on the move and so is its iron and steel industry. Thus in conjunction with the conference, the Institute, with the cooperation of the Vietnam Steel Association, has worked out an interesting plant tour programme to showcase to delegates the exciting developments in the country. The programme will offer three routes i.e.:
1. Hoa Phat Integrated Steel Mill and PhaRung Shipyard Company Ltd;
2. Viet Duc Steel Mill, Toyota Motor Vietnam and Vnsteel ThangLong Coated Sheets JSC; and
3. Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation.
The three plant tour routes cover a wide range of industrial activities ranging from the manufacturing of construction steel, coated sheets, steel pipes etc. to automotive assembly and shipbuilding. The routes also include visits to two integrated steel mills.
The stand out of the three routes is the visit to the integrated steel mill of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, which will be South East Asia’s largest steelmaking facility upon completion. The company has already started its rolling operation towards the end of last year and is expected to put its first blast furnace unit into operation in the middle of this year. As the steel plant is located in the central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh, delegates would need to fly there for the visit. Due to the rather complex logistic arrangements, those who are interested to partake in the visit would need to register their interest early with the SEAISI Secretariat. Places are limited and will be given only to registered conference delegates on a first come, first served basis.
TAN AH YONG