FIVE Japanese companies have set up a distribution company in Vietnam in a joint venture with Vietnam Container Shipping Co-Haiphong (Viconship-Haiphong). The five are Kanematsu Corp, Suzue Corp, Meiko Trans Co, Kamigumi Co and Honda Trading Corp. The venture, Vietnam-Japan International Transport Co (VIJACO), was set up to cash in on the expected growth in domestic and international cargo traffic to and from Vietnam. Viconship-Haiphong, with branches in Hanoi and Da Nang, has built up a distribution network providing container transport, trucking, warehousing, shipping agency and container repair. Viconship-Haiphong has a 45,000 square metre container yard in Haiphong and handles about 60 per cent of the container cargo traffic in northern Vietnam. The five Japanese companies, which set up Indochina Trans Service (ITS) in Japan in September 1992, are involved in providing forwarding services between Japan and Vietnam. VIJACO will lease 9,000 sq metres of land within Viconship-Haiphong's container yard in the Doan Xa district to build a bonded warehouse and container depot. The new company plans to focus its activities in Haiphong with a business base and sales offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. VIJACO expects to obtain a business licence in November and start operations in January, initially using Viconship-Haiphong's hardware. The joint venture also plans to develop business in southern Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.