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VietNamNews

New board will address freight surcharges

Update: September, 13/2014 - 08:07
Goods are loaded into a vessel at Vung Ang Port JSC in central Ha Tinh Province. Viet Nam plans to establish a management board to deal with extra freight fees. — VNA/VNS Photo Ha Thai

HA NOI (VNS)  — The Viet Nam Maritime Administration plans set up a management board to deal with extra freight fees applied to Vietnamese exports and imports by foreign shipping companies.

At a conference on Wednesday, head of the administration, Nguyen Nhat, said that at present there was no agency in charge of solving issues.

Recently, many Vietnamese enterprises have complained about what they describe as unreasonable surcharges being applied to goods.

At least 10 kinds of surchages are being applied, such as terminal handling charges, container imbalance surcharge and a port congestion surcharge.

These fees have reportedly soared by around 20 to 30 per cent over last year and were imposed without warning. This has placed a heavy burden on import and export enterprises.

This has led the Maritime Administration to ask the Ministry of Transport to set up a management board as soon as possible.

The decision has received support from ministries, sectors and freight enterprises.

Tran Anh Son, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Competitiveness Management Department, said that Vietnamese enterprises were suffering.

He cited the port fee as an example. Foreign shipping companies usually choose the port which offers the cheapest price, but do not pass on any savings to enterprises.

Different ports have different lists of additional fees, and enterprises sometimes have to pay more.

Phan Thong, general secretary of the Viet Nam Shippers Association, said that Viet Nam enterprises were not told the differences between fees and additional fees, thus they usually suffered losses when signing contracts.

At present, Vietnamese import and export enterprises lack an agency that can protect them, and the shippers' association and other authorised agencies offer little support.

Eighty per cent of the freight market is controlled by foreign shipping companies. At present, Vietnamese enterprises have no choice but to pay all the charges to assure the delivery of their goods.

This was why State management and consultancy of maritime transport was necessary, he added.

Experts have suggested it is necessary to examine additional fees on some routes, which are said to be much higher than the real costs.

They have also suggested foreign shipping companies to publish a list of fees and additional fees on different routes to comply with Competition Law. — VNS

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