Thursday, September 22, 2016

Surge in Vietnam sand exported to Singapore

25 August 2009

Sand exported to Singapore from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in the first half of 2009 was equivalent to the total exports of the last ten years.

Barge full of sand seen off Pulau Ubin a week ago. Where does the sand come from?

The surge in exports from Vietnam followed Cambodia’s decision to ban further exports of its own river sand in order to reserve it for domestic use and limit further erosion of river banks.
This is despite a Vietnamese ban on sand and gravel exports.

The Vietnamese Prime Ministerial Instruction No. 29, issued in October 2008, established a temporary ban on Vietnam’s own exports of sand and gravel exploited from rivers and seas.
There was a huge loophole, however, exports could continue indefinitely under contracts signed before November 30, 2008. Based on this clause, sand is still exported to Singapore.

When Cambodia still exported sand, sand from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta was not favored because it is of lower quality than Cambodian river sand. But following the Cambodian ban, there was a surge in sand exports from Vietnam.
“Lured by virtually unlimited profits,” said a Vietnamese Customs official, “sand exporters change the date of signing contracts to before November 30 2008 to continue exporting sand.”

Full article on the wild Singapore news blog.
A day after this report, there was another report that Cambodian customs officials prevented the export of several thousand tones of sand to Singapore in a recent raid on coastal dredging operations there.

The report also noted that hundreds of thousands of tones of sand from Cambodia's rivers and coastal areas have been dredged and shipped to Singapore for use in land-reclamation projects. And that Indonesia and the Philippines are among the countries that have banned the practice of dredging because of its destructive impact on riverbeds and shorelines.


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