The many challenges in developing Vietnam’s logistics sector were discussed at the “2018 Forum on Connectivity in Asia: Trade, Transport, Logistics, and Business”, organized by RMIT Vietnam on June 28 in Hanoi and featuring addresses from key industry stakeholders and thinkers.

The forum saw 340 attendees from local and foreign enterprises, local universities and organizations, and RMIT students and parents.

Associate Professor Robert McClelland, Head of Department (Management) at RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management, said the forum was held to explore the views of industry analysts, policy makers, and academics, and to establish a platform to discuss important logistics and supply chain issues in Vietnam.

“The forum brought together stakeholders to improve inter-industry and interdisciplinary networking and understanding,” Associate Professor McClelland said. “It will enhance government and industry engagement through dialogue and form a foundation for a prestigious annual logistics forum on Vietnam’s emerging and developing logistics industry.”

He also noted that the pace of change, as witnessed by new initiatives such as the ASEAN Master Plan for Connectivity and trading blocs such as the RCEP and the CPTPP, places policymakers, logistics providers, and key stakeholders at the forefront of regional economic integration.

“However, with new opportunities come new challenges,” he went on. “One of the arising issues Vietnam is currently facing is the lack of high-quality human resources. By 2030, Vietnam will need 300,000 people working in the logistics field with an educational background in logistics, a professional attitude, and good English capabilities.”

Foreseeing this problem, a couple of years ago RMIT University conducted thorough market research and officially launched a Bachelor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management program in Vietnam. Since then, as part of its workforce development initiative, it has granted scholarships and also offered a discount on tuition fees of 15 per cent to prospective students studying at its Hanoi campus.

The forum’s agenda included logistics and the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises, with Associate Professor Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, President of Vietnam Institute of Economics, making an address, logistics today and how to prepare for the future, with Ms. Doan Thi Diem Hang, Hanoi Branch Manager of Schenker Vietnam, challenges and responses to mega trends in the globalized supply chain, with Dr. Paul Taewoo Lee, Director of Marine Logistics and the Free Trade Islands Research Center at Ocean College, Zhejiang University, China, and global protectionism and the implications for Vietnam, with Dr. Inkyo Cheong, Vice President of the Inha University in South Korea.

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