A tale of two cities


A multi-faceted nation of magnificent diversity, Vietnam exhibits everything from serene stillness in its pristine rainforests to the organized chaos of the cities. Finnair Cargo’s Vietnam operations are centered on Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

Vietnam is a land where ox-carts work rice paddies much as they have for millennia; where luxury sedans cruise multi-lane boulevards passed crumbling mansions from the French colonial era, and now in the shadows of gleaming new skyscrapers of blue glass and steel.

"Vietnam is a modern-day marvel,” says Tomi Asikainen, Finnair Cargo’s sales director for Asia.

“The capital Hanoi fuses the old-world glamour of Paris with all the urgency of a developing economy, while Ho Chi Minh City is a sprawling, pulsating metropolis of commerce. Everywhere the people are educated, hard-working, and hungry to take their place on the international stage," says Asikainen.

Dynamic duo

Home to more than 90 million people, Vietnam in 2016 is the world's 13th most-populous country with economic growth among the highest on the planet.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the country’s exports leaped 13.6 percent from 2013 to 2014 alone, from USD 132.17 billion to USD 150.19 billion, with electronics and electronic components, textiles and garments, and computers and circuit boards being the three main export groups.

Though the United States is Vietnam's largest export market, taking in USD 28.5 billion of goods in 2014, the European Union came a close second with USD 27.9 billion.

Finnair Cargo’s Vietnam operations are centered on the two key cities highlighted by Asikainen: Hanoi in the north, which has a population of about 7.4 million, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) some 1,760 kilometers away in the south. Ho Chi Minh City’s population now sits at approximately 9 million, which makes it Vietnam’s largest metropolis.

Hanoi rocks

“Hanoi is the center of culture, politics, economy, and trade of the whole country,” says Tran Dong Do, Hanoi sales manager for Finnair Cargo’s local Global Sales Agent, Vector Aviation.

While the hi-tech sector accounts for 50–60 percent of the highly competitive export cargo market by airfreight out of Hanoi, Tran adds that garments and textiles currently account for a large share of Finnair Cargo’s shipments.

Though there was a direct Finnair Cargo link – flying May to November – between Hanoi and Helsinki, since late 2014 an interline service has been in place. Vietjet Aviation and Vietnam Airlines are employed to transport shipments to Bangkok, where they are then loaded on to Finnair aircraft for Helsinki.

Servicing Saigon

Kathy Khanh, Ho Chi Minh City sales manager at Vector Aviation, praises her energetic town as “the most dynamic and leading city in the economic development of Vietnam” and the key focal point for foreign investment.

During winter months (December through March), she points out, Finnair Cargo operates between Ho Chi Minh City and Helsinki with one flight a week (usually Fridays). Garments, shoes, and textiles make up the majority of shipments.

From March 2016, however, an interline service will be put into play, routing shipments through Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau.

“Vietnam is an extremely competitive market, but also an exciting market, with growing export volumes and a dynamic business environment,” says Asikainen.

“By consistently offering excellent service and unrivaled quality standards, I am confident that Finnair Cargo will increasingly contribute to the Vietnam success story.”

Text by Gary Jones
Photo by iStock


Published January 31, 2016

Category: Local features, Market updates