Vietnam’s transport ministry has published its third annual list of shame, which ranks its construction suppliers according to their performances on government contracts-and it’s not good news for Chinese and Korean contractors.
The government included 475 contractors in its latest list. Of these, 57 were identified as not meeting its requirements and will excluded from further public sector contracts. Among them were some of the region’s biggest players, including some of the leading firms in South Korea and China.
Among the underperforming Chinese firms were Guangxi Construction Engineering Group, China Road and Bridge Corporation, Zhongxing Telecommunication and China Railway Sixth Group. China Railway was deemed to be responsible for problems with the Cat Linh elevated railway in Hanoi, which exceeded its budget by $339m, or 61% of the contract price.
Among the Korean firms named were the Asan-based Keangnam, a general contractor which has built up a large presence outside its home base, particularly in Sri Lanka. It had been hired to construct an expressway to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, but failed to raise the funds it said it would during the bidding process, and relied instead on monthly disbursements from its investors. It then delayed work while trying to find cheap Vietnamese subcontractors, workers and equipment.
The ministry began publishing its annual ranking in 2012 in response to its frustration with a number of underperforming contracts. In that year some 383 contractors were named as meeting the client’s requirements, and 35 were described as "average". Firms are judged on their ability to mobilise staff and equipment, follow schedules, guarantee safety, settle payments and provide an after-sales service.
Several Vietnamese state-owned firms also made the black list, including Civil Construction Engineering Corporation, the Vietnam Waterway Construction and Vietnam Construction and Import-Export.
One issue of more immediate concern to Chinese firms than the displeasure of the Vietnamese government is the safety of its workers in the current wave of anti-Chinese sentiment sweeping the country.
It has been revealed that four construction workers for Chinese firm Metallurgical CorpÂ were killed in last month’s riots. This is double the number of fatalities previously confirmed by the Vietnamese and Chinese governments.
Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to factories and stormed industrial zones in the south to protest against Chinese oil drilling in a part of the sea claimed by Hanoi.
One public sector project that is attracting international attention is Vietnam’s second nuclear power station, which is being planned for the coastal Ninh Thuan province. Japanese engineer Mitsubishi last week visited Vietnam to make its bid for work.
"We know Vietnam is in the final stages of selecting technology for its second nuclear power plant. The Japanese government has advised that our technology is suitable to this project," said a senior officer at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. He added: "Vietnam is one of two important markets we are focusing on to introduce this technology; the other is Turkey."