In 1994, Filip Martens visited Vietnam with a mission to find new business opportunities for port-related industrial development. He travelled throughout Vietnam and China to a number of cities and provinces from north to south.
Martens then met with the American Insurance Group (AIG) team in Hanoi, who had signed an memorandum of understanding with the Vietnamese government to transform a peninsula called Dinh Vu in the northern city of Haiphong into an industrial hub. AIG invited Martens to join the project, and when he accepted, he became general director of Dinh Vu Industrial Zone (DVIZ).
With years of experience, Martens and the Belgian company Rent-A-Port saw massive potential in this region for industrial development based on an industrial hub with access to a deep seaport. The project team planned to transform this peninsula into a 1,000 hectare modern economic zone.
This was 20 years ago, and when the DVIZ team first initiated the concept of the industrial zone, very few people had faith in them.
Luckily, DVIZ received tremendous support from local leaders, who had the necessary momentum and ambition to think long-term. They knew the task would not be easy, but DVIZ was committed to lead the city into a successful new millennium.
|As DVIZ/Deep C celebrates its 20-year anniversary, its founding vision is still evolving |
In 1997, Dinh Vu Development Joint Venture Company, today known as Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC (DVIZ/Deep C), was established to develop an economic zone in this area.
Millions of cubic metres of sand were transported and hydraulically pumped to elevate and reclaim hundreds of hectares of waterfront land. Thousands of metres of sea dykes were built to protect the land from floods, erosion, and typhoons. DVIZ also built roads, power stations, and water treatment facilities.
The 164ha first phase of the industrial park was developed through persistent hard work and determination. After two years of construction, in 1999, DVIZ welcomed the first tenant of the zone, American investor Chevron Lubricants. After that, DVIZ launched its second phase, increasing the total area to 541ha. Since then, Marc Stordiau, chairman of the Board of Management of Dinh Vu Industrial Zone, continued to actualise the vision of DVIZ/Deep C.
In 2007, when AIG left the Dinh Vu project, their share was taken over by the Belgian government and by the Antwerp-based International Port Engineering & Management, a group of private investors with reclamation know-how. The majority of the shares remained in the hands of Rent-A-Port.
The hardship in the early days of development paved the way to success with the recognition of the Detailed Master Plan of DVIZ, approved by the Ministry of Construction in 2010. The industrial zone is supported by the Dinh Vu Port, the expanded Cat Bi Airport, the new expressway connecting Hanoi to Haiphong, and other expressways leading to the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, then South China, as well as other coastal provinces. Most importantly, the under-construction Lach Huyen Deep Sea Port will soon become the biggest port in northern Vietnam. The Dinh Vu/Deep C Industrial Zones are located in the middle of these mega-infrastructure developments, linking the city centre and hinterland industries to the gateway ports, opening up northern Vietnam to the rest of the world.
This success story illustrates how perseverance and collaboration between businesses and the government can turn a dream into reality. With the contributions from the Belgian government, the visionary Rent-A-Port team acts like a bridge connecting the governments of Vietnam and Belgium, making DVIZ a symbol of strong economic ties and friendship. This close relationship has been celebrated through various official visits throughout the years.
Rent-A-Port is not only doing business in Vietnam, but also conducting cultural exchange. The social and cultural ties between Vietnam and Belgium have been tightened by various activities such as the annual Belgian beer festival, performances of Belgian artists in Haiphong, and many other events.
This April, DVIZ is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in Vietnam. The event will mark an important milestone in the company’s path to carry on its founder’s legacy. It also reflects the passion and love that Belgian employees have for Vietnam, and the involvement they have had in much more than just industrial zone development.
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By Thanh Son