RMIT University Vietnam hosted the 12th International Conference of Asian Shipping and Logistics (ICASL 2019) from 28 to 29 of June at its Saigon South campus.
The event saw participants from Australia, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Vietnam share and discuss 29 different topics relating to the changes and role of shipping and seaports in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
President of the Korean Association of Shipping and Logistics, Professor Tae-Won Chung said that ICASL 2019 provided opportunities for professors and researchers globally to meet and discuss current research on Asian shipping and logistics.
“The conference provided a platform for wide-ranging issues which captured Asian shipping and logistics, and can be nurtured for the advancement of future research and global collaboration,” Professor Chung said.
Since the first event held in South Korea in 2008, the conference has expanded beyond its original purpose of exchanging shipping and logistics research between Korea, Japan and China.
Professor Chung said that Vietnam had been chosen to host this year's conference due to the country’s rapid growth in the shipping and logistics industry: “We want to provide a platform for international relationships among the researchers involved in shipping and logistics, publication opportunities in the associated journals with ICASL, a conducive environment for the participants to share experiences in shipping and logistics fields, opportunities to form partnerships among research participants, and to expand the field of shipping and logistics at the global level.”
At the beginning of the conference, Head of Ho Chi Minh City Office of Vietnam Maritime Administration, Ministry of Transport, Mr Pham Huy Toan said he hoped the event would provide useful insights to highlight the issues of regional shipping and logistics. He believed the conference had the potential to significantly contribute to participants’ governments for policy consideration.
“As we always know, shipping and logistics are very important sectors of Asian countries generally and Vietnam particularly,” Mr Toan said. “The Vietnamese government has conducted many workshops, conferences, seminars, and forums annually - discussing how to improve and develop these sectors efficiently. Through many presentations of scientific papers, the ICASL 2019 plays an important role in contributing to the knowledge of the field, and at the same time provides different solutions and suggestions for government, industries and education.”
RMIT Vietnam Head of School of Business & Management Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma said that the theme of this year’s conference is also aligned with Vietnam’s economy, as the country’s growth is fuelled by greater regional and international integration and collaboration.
“According to a World Bank estimate, Vietnam’s logistics costs currently account for 20.9 per cent of GDP, which by comparison is higher than China’s 19 per cent, Thailand’s 18 per cent, Japan’s 11 per cent and the EU’s 10 per cent,” he said.
“And at a recent national logistics forum, Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated that high logistics costs were one of the hurdles obstructing the national economy’s competitiveness in a highly connected and integrated trade environment. Prime Minister Phuc emphasised that efforts to lower logistics costs need attention, particularly as Vietnam increases its participation in major free trade agreements.”
Associate Professor Nkhoma stressed that cutting logistics costs to 16-20 per cent of GDP by 2025 while raising its GDP contribution to 8-10 per cent “will require additional efforts to reform and simplify administrative procedures in order to improve the business climate”.
Associate Professor Nkhoma believed while exploring the region’s logistical challenges with industry experts, policymakers and academics, participants from Vietnam might discover useful solutions to tackle the country’s current issues.
Jointly organised by the Korean Association of Shipping and Logistics Inc., and the Maritime and Port Logistics Expert Training Program in Incheon National University, the 12th ICASL 2019 is funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea, Yeosu Gwangyang Port Authority in Korea, and RMIT University Vietnam School of Business & Management.
Story: Ha Hoang