Viet Nam


The easternmost country in the GMS, Viet Nam shares borders with PRC in the north and Lao PDR and Cambodia to the west. Viet Nam’s land is mostly hilly and densely forested, with flat land making up no more than 20 per cent. It is a major exporter of agricultural goods, being the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts and black pepper, and the second largest rice exporter; its other primary exports include coffee, tea, rubber and fishery products. Of the GMS countries, Viet Nam has the highest proportion of land use for permanent crops (6.93 per cent).


Viet Nam’s road network has a high density, consisting of over 256,000km, of which 17,000km (7 per cent) are national highways and 23,000km (9 per cent) are provincial roads. District, urban and commune roads make up the remaining 84 per cent. This lack of national-level roads means there is limited domestic connectivity between remote and rural areas. The road network also has a limited capacity, which is exacerbated by the condition of most of the roads. Ninety-four per cent of the national roads are paved, but only 43 per cent are in good condition; 37 per cent are in average condition; and the remaining 20 per cent are in poor to very poor condition. Of the 215,000km of local roads, 24 per cent (provincial roads), 86 per cent (district roads) and 79 per cent (commune roads) are unpaved and surfaced with either earth or gravel. In urban areas only half of the roads are paved, meaning overall, 52 per cent of the network is unpaved, with 16 per cent of the population not having access to all-weather roads.

Motorcycles are the most popular form of transport in Viet Nam, making up 95 per cent of the total road traffic. Public busses are the main means of long-distance travel. However, there has been a recent increase in the number of privately owned automobiles, particularly in the larger cities. Road safety is a major issue in Viet Nam due to a lack of awareness for, and enforcement of, road rules. The sharp rise in private vehicle ownership and traffic volumes has resulted in over 10,000 annual fatalities in recent years. These accidents affect poor and vulnerable users disproportionately, such as pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Source: Asian Development Bank, Viet Nam Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map, January 2012. [Link to resource]


Viet Nam trade demand and key transport routes

International trading activity in Viet Nam is concentrated around the Mekong Delta in the south and the Red River Delta in the north. The overall trade profile suggests maritime trade will dominate, especially through Saigon Port in the south and to a lesser extent Hai Phong in the north, in addition to the coal shipments out of Ha Long. The most important trade corridor in the south is the Eastern Corridor north and south of Ho Chi Minh City, feeding traffic to and from Saigon Port, and the Southern Corridor AH1 connecting to Cambodia. In the north, the most important link is the Ha Noi–Hai Phong extension of the Eastern Corridor, while the road and/or rail links between Ha Noi and the PRC through Lao Cai and the Lang Son road links are the next most important links, but these have less trade traffic.

Source: Transport and Logistics in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report [Final Report] 2012 [Link to Resources]


CBTA in Viet Nam

Viet Nam fully ratified the CBTA main agreement in 1999, and has since fully ratified the 20 Annexes and Protocols. With the implementation of the Single-Stop Inspection Procedures agreement between Lao PDR and Viet Nam, the customs inspection procedure was simplified, which shortened the clearance time with the completion of the Common Control Area (CCA) at the Lao-Bao–Dansavan border crossing points along the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC).

Transport routes were opened and the Exchange of Road Traffic Rights was undertaken between PRC and Viet Nam in August 2012. A 1,300km route, that allows trucks and buses from PRC and Viet Nam to travel into each other’s territories along the two routes of Kunming–Hanoi–Haiphong and Hanoi–Yuyi–Nanning–Shenzhen was opened. An Operations Manual which includes documents on bilateral transport, relevant laws and regulations, samples of permits, the procedure for applying for permits, tax and duties information, road safety, road signals, detailed local road maps indicating gas stations and rest areas was drafted by ADB, and Viet Nam is in the process of approving it.

The Exchange of Road Traffic Rights initiatives between Viet Nam and Cambodia enabled the increase of transport permit quotas between the two countries of up to 300 permits (per country) for goods, vehicles and people. There is now a total of seven entry/exit points including the Bavet– Moc Bai border. Additional entry/exit points are to be opened in the future between the two countries, with ongoing discussions to increase the current permit quotas.

Due to the heavy flow of traffic along the EWEC since its creation, an MOU on the Extension of the EWEC was signed by Viet Nam with Thailand and Lao PDR. This extension would allow the EWEC to include three GMS capitals (Hanoi, Bangkok and Vientiane) and two deep-sea ports (Laem Chabang and Haiphong).

The improvement of the highway networks and the expressway network have significantly increased transport efficiency, with National Highway 1 (NH1) stretching the length of the country to join with PRC in the north, making up the majority of the length of the Eastern Corridor. The NH1 has been upgraded and will continue to need upgrading with future increases in traffic flow.


Viet Nam Ministry of Transport Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport:

Expand to see more