Ho Chi Minh City and Rotterdam - strengthening partnership for sustainable urban development, port development and logistics

Ho Chi Minh City, 28 July 2022 – Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, paid a visit to Ho Chi Minh City on 27 - 28 July 2022.  The visit aims to promote economic cooperation between Ho Chi Minh City and Rotterdam, especially in the areas of sustainable urban development, port development and logistics.

Around 60% of Vietnamese exports destined for European markets currently enter via the Port of Rotterdam. Businesses can enjoy Rotterdam’s central location within the European market, and its excellent business and fiscal environment, great connectivity and world-class value-added logistics for all industry sectors. Likewise, Ho Chi Minh City, with its strategic geographical location, is one of ASEAN’s main business hubs. Ho Chi Minh City offers potential for triple-port development and cooperation with the Netherlands: airport, seaport and brain port (smart cities).

Image: ©Vietnam News Agency
Mayor Aboutaleb and Chairman Phan Van Mai in HCMC

In the framework of this visit, Mayor Aboutaleb had a meeting with Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Mr. Phan Van Mai and the city departments to review the cooperation history of the two cities and discuss the future cooperation opportunities in sustainable urban development, port development and logistics.

Mayor Aboutaleb also had a meeting with Chairman of People’s Committee of Thu Duc City Mr. Hoang Tung to hear about Thu Duc City development plan, focusing on how City of Rotterdam and Dutch companies can participate in this development journey.

Image: ©NL Embassy in Hanoi
Mayor Aboutaleb joined the roundtable on sustainable urban development

During his visit, Mayor Aboutaleb joined a roundtable on sustainable urban development focusing on urban flooding, climate change financing and land subsidence to increase climate resilience with Vice Chairman Mr. Vo Van Hoan of People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City , together with Dutch experts and businesses. The roundtable aimed to find a better balance between the dynamic urban space, its impact on the environment and integrated adaptation measures. The participants also discussed the current challenges of Ho Chi Minh City. Dutch experts also shared the case study of Rotterdam in urban development in view of strengthening climate change resilience and discussed the lessons learnt and future possible cooperation between Rotterdam and Ho Chi Minh City.

This afternoon, Mayor Aboutaleb, together with a representative from Port of Rotterdam will join a roundtable on port development and logistics with Ho Chi Minh City Maritime Administration, Saigon New Port together with Dutch and Vietnamese enterprises. The session will discuss challenges Ho Chi Minh City and Maritime Port Authority in Ho Chi Minh City are facing in meeting growing trade volumes and how bilateral cooperation amongst Ho Chi Minh City and local partners, Rotterdam and Dutch companies can be enhanced.

Image: ©NL Consulate General in HCMC
Meeting with Dong Nai province authorities at Vopak Vietnam

Within the framework of the visit, Mayor Aboutaleb visited Dutch engineering consultancy company Royal HaskoningDHV Vietnam and learnt how the company contributes to  enhancing the Vietnamese society through their typical projects in Vietnam. He also gave a lecture on ‘Leadership and Sustainable Economic Development’ for Master and PhD students of Vietnam - the Netherlands Program. Besides, the delegation paid a visit to the Vietnam branch of Royal Vopak - Vopak Vietnam Co., Ltd., one of the pearls of Rotterdam maritime industrial complex with more than 400 years of experience in tank storage and transshipment.  Joining the field trip was Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Comittee of Dong Nai province Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hoang. Both parties also exchanged ideas about trade and investment promotion between the City of Rotterdam and Dong Nai Province.

“Rotterdam and HCMC share similar DNA, each bustling with the energy of a business-driven shipping hub. Both sit on river deltas and increasingly challenged – by their relationship with water, these two port cities are on the front lines of climate change. I am delighted to see how fast growing HCMC has transformed since my last visit and also the incredible economic recovery after the pandemic. By this visit, I hope both cities can continue the friendship and partnership especially in exploring innovative, smart solutions to the urban challenges including climate change, water management, port development and social-economic issues such as creating jobs and recovery from COVID-19,” says Mayor Aboutaleb.


The Netherlands and Vietnam has a long-lasting and trusted relationship. The two countries have established the strategic partnerships in “Water & Climate Change Adaptation” and “Agriculture and Food Security”. The Netherlands is the largest EU investor in Vietnam. At the same time, the Netherlands is also Vietnam's largest export market in the EU, and the sixth largest globally. In 2021 the bilateral trade mounted 8,373 billion USD, an increase of 9.4% compared to 2020. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is an important driving force behind the growing sustainable and inclusive trade between Vietnam and the EU. Vietnam and the Netherlands will celebrate their 50th year of diplomatic relation in 2023.