Wholesale markets face risk of closure again

SGGP
When wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh City were allowed to open transshipment points, it was expected to contribute to solving the shortage of essential goods in the context that the city implements social distancing. However, the result is not as expected.
Wholesale markets face risk of closure again ảnh 1 There is only one container placed next to the power station to keep the goods inside cold at Hoc Mon Wholesale Market. (Photo: SGGP)
Goods not plentiful
After reopening for three nights, Hoc Mon Wholesale Market faces the risk of closing again as traders gradually withdraw because they cannot sell goods. Around midnight on September 22, the journalist of SGGP Newspaper presented papers and went through strict medical checks before entering the market. Inside the market, unlike the usual bustling scene, there was not a shadow of traders or vehicles. There was only one container placed next to the power station to keep the goods inside cold.

"This container is about 30 tons. It belongs to a trader and has arrived at the market for two days. However, because the trader cannot sell goods yet, the container is temporarily left here, and the market provides it free electricity," said Phong, a night guard of Hoc Mon Wholesale Market.

The market imported about 132 tons of goods of all kinds on the first night of opening the transshipment point. The volume of goods fell sharply to 5 tons on the second night, and there were no tons of goods entering the market on the third night. The market only sold about 40 tons of goods in the past three days. The rest is in storehouses in the market.

“Many strict regulations when entering the market to receive goods, such as having to register the number of vehicles 12 hours in advance, having negative Covid-19 test results, and passing strict medical checks, have made many traders fail to meet. Not to mention that in the streets near the market, trucks are still pouring goods to sell freely without going through medical control, which has partly prevented us from selling goods," said Hoang Van Ty, a trader with two stalls in Hoc Mon Wholesale Market.

Similarly, at Thu Duc Wholesale Market, the plan to supply about 1,500 tons of vegetables and fruits of all kinds on the first day of opening the transshipment point failed to carry out. After that, the Department of Industry and Trade of HCMC, Thu Duc City, and the market management board had a meeting to adjust plans and solutions. However, the market only supplied 50-60 tons of goods per night in the past few days.

“Many small traders want to register to sell again, but due to strict regulations on pandemic prevention, they remain hesitant. In addition, trade activities in the streets around the market are still bustling, making it difficult for traders in the market to compete," said Mr. Nguyen Nhu, Deputy Director of Thu Duc Wholesale Market Management Company.

At 2 a.m. on September 23, the entrance to Binh Dien Wholesale Market was quite crowded with chaotic trade activities. Piles of goods lined up on the roadside were load onto trucks to deliver to other places publicly. Meanwhile, there were only a few small trucks from the gate to the inside of Binh Dien Wholesale Market, and the volume of goods was relatively modest.

According to the plan, this wholesale market would supply the city market with about 200 tons of seafood, vegetables, and fruits of all kinds each night. However, after three weeks of operation, it has only reached an average capacity of 80-90 tons per night, of which seafood accounts for two-thirds.

Strengthening handling of spontaneous markets

For a long time, the three wholesale markets of HCMC have performed the main task of importing and exporting goods for the system of more than 200 traditional markets in the city. Buyers purchase goods in these wholesale markets and sell them at retail markets and grocery stores. Up to now, most of the above businesses have not been able to operate again, so trade activities in wholesale markets are difficult to achieve the results as expected.

Trade centers and supermarkets mostly import goods directly from farms, regional places of supply, and farming centers, and almost do not buy goods from wholesalers in wholesale markets. However, the opening of more transshipment points at wholesale markets is necessary to reduce the load on the system of supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as to increase and diversify the supply, thereby reducing prices and improving the quality of goods.

For wholesale markets and transshipment points to operate effectively, representatives of some markets said that the authorities should reduce and waive fees like normal days; the People's Committees of districts where wholesale markets locate should thoroughly handle spontaneous ones. For example, at Hoc Mon Wholesale Market, many traders gather on Nguyen Thi Soc, Le Thi Ha, and To Ky streets, and the section of the National Highway 22 in District 12.

“They compete unfairly with traders participating in the gathering point. They do not have to test periodically. They buy and sell freely and are not controlled during transportation," a representative of Hoc Mon Wholesale Market said. In the long run, according to traders at wholesale markets, it is necessary to consider reopening traditional markets in green zones where people can go to the market once a week. It is an important foundation for trade activities at wholesale markets.

By Lac Phong – Translated by Gia Bao

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