Vietnam may not be among the leading coal producers but it is a promising market for Polish entrepreneurs in the industry. Mainly because technological development is not as dynamic here. As a result, the role of support and Polish technical thought grows significantly and becomes an answer to the problems of mining in Vietnam.
Vietnam, compared to Poland, is not a big player in the coal market. In 2018, approximately 23 million tonnes of coal were extracted in Vietnam. In Poland, in comparison, 60 million tonnes were extracted at that time. It is worth emphasising that the population of Vietnam is over 90 million people. It is not difficult to estimate that domestic coal production is unable to meet Vietnamese demand; therefore, the country increases its coal imports every year. It is estimated that approximately 40 million tonnes of coal were imported in 2019 and it is certain that in subsequent years imports will increase and will exceed 50 million tonnes in 2020 and even 100 million tonnes by 2030. Almost all local coal production is destined for the domestic market.
However, mining in Vietnam is facing numerous problems. It is outdated and still based on technologies from 20-30 years ago. New technologies, on the other hand, are often based on Chinese solutions, which are not necessarily the best. More advanced solutions offered by Western producers are introduced at a very slow rate. This is due to a fairly extensive decision-making process as regards new investments, as well as quite common legal and ethical problems.
However, what can be seen as a problem, on the one hand, is also in a way an opportunity for brands such as FAMUR. Outdated machines and equipment will have to be replaced with newer ones with time, therefore, it is crucial to establish proper relationships in this market. The Vietnamese, on the other hand, are aware that they have to slowly increase their coal output in order to become as independent as possible from such large imports of this raw material. However, the import of coal itself also provides opportunities such as offering machines and equipment from the Famur transport systems segment, i.e. handling and transport, for coal imported from port terminals.
We will also encounter serious problems
As in any market, there are problems piling up that often result from intercultural differences or habits of business partners. One of the main issues is the prolonged decision-making process on the part of Vietnam. It can take even as long as several months and this is certainly one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs have to face. This translates, among other things, into the need to frequently travel to Vietnam before the market environment and the relevant "decision-making chain" in a given tender is fully recognised. However, in many cases, this is not enough and the tender is cancelled or suspended... even for several years.
Therefore, it is a very important factor to find the right person on the spot, i.e. an agent who will efficiently help to determine the right strategy for a given tender and select a reliable local company that will take part in a given tender based on a specific product offer. According to local regulations, foreign companies cannot take part in tenders here on their own. In the case of winning, the execution of the contract itself is already much simpler and activities such as negotiations or securing payments are not much of a problem and go "smoothly".
FAMUR in Vietnam
At the moment, there are several of our AM50 roadheaders operating in Vietnam. In addition, between 2010 and 2011, the SKS type motor thill railway was delivered and put into operation. It has been in operation for almost ten years now and, although it is not a newer solution in itself, it works perfectly. In the years 2020-2021, the renovation of both the roadheaders and the railway is planned - we are taking part in both of these projects and we are holding talks with Vietnamese partners in order to conduct an appropriate range of renovations. As far as the railway is concerned, it needs to be renovated in such a way that it can work more efficiently for the next decade. In 2019, the WZ1P vibrating screen was delivered and put into operation. In addition, in January, the Customer ordered a set of spare parts for the screen.