|Containers with goods at a port. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has called on marine transport and logistics businesses to cut fees for container storage and warehousing for companies that have reduced operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Industry and Trade has called on marine transport and logistics businesses to cut fees for container storage and warehousing for companies that have reduced operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Quốc Khánh on Tuesday sent an official dispatch to a number of business groups like the Việt Nam Logistics Business Association and Việt Nam Seaports Association, port operators and shipping and logistics companies for the purpose.
It pointed out that 19 southern provinces and cities have mandated social distancing under the Government's Directive 16, including HCM City, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, and Long An, all localities with large volumes of imports and exports.
The application of social distancing and other epidemic prevention and control measures means some businesses have temporarily reduced operations and face difficulties in picking up their cargo from ports, leading to an increase in the storage time at ports and costs, it said.
This makes it imperative to cut charges for them, it said.
It also instructed marine transport and logistics businesses and associations to improve goods clearance and reduce container backlogs at ports and facilitate import-export activities.
Many trade groups have complained to the ministry about a shortage of containers and high logistics and international shipping costs (that have risen 5-10 times since before the pandemic) that have persisted since last year.
The surging costs of fuel and imported raw materials in recent months have also caused enormous difficulties for companies producing goods for export.
HCM City’s Cát Lái Port eases huge container backlog
The huge container backlog at Tân Cảng - Cát Lái (TCCL) Port in HCM City has been mostly cleared, according to Tân Cảng Sài Gòn (Sài Gòn New Port) Corporation.
Speaking at an online seminar between port authorities, agencies, shipping lines and businesses on Tuesday (April 10), the deputy director of the corporation, Sr Lieut Col Bùi Văn Quỳ, said the large amount of stored goods had decreased markedly, ensuring the port’s capacity to accept goods.
The delivery and receipt of goods and release of cargo ships has freed up high inventory levels, and reduced the risk of suspending the port’s operation.
The TCCL Port said earlier that it would possibly have to temporarily stop receiving goods so that it could clear the huge backlog of containers. The pileup was caused by businesses reducing or suspending production since the city’s lockdown starting July 9.
According to the port corporation’s recent survey, about 20.5 per cent of 326 surveyed import-export companies had maintained operations as normal, 13 per cent of them had suspended operations, and 66.5 per cent had reduced production capacity.
The number of trucks coming to the port to pick up cargo declined sharply, while the number of containers stuck at the port had reached nearly 100 per cent of capacity.
The prolonged backlog affected services for import-export activities of companies in the southern key economic region.
To resolve the congestion, the port released import containers of over 90 days, rearranged space and maximised the capacity for loading and unloading containers, and worked with agencies to create favourable conditions for online administrative procedures.
The corporation called on companies to deliver goods to other ports near their factories, such as Tân Cảng - Hiệp Phước Port in the city’s Nhà Bè District, Tân Cảng - Cái Mép International Terminal in neighbouring Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, or other ports in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
To encourage delivery and receipt of goods at Tân Cảng - Hiệp Phước Port, it offered free services like container delivery, container storage, free 24-hour operation charge for reefer containers, and administrative assistance to change the port of destination.
Trương Tấn Lộc, marketing director of Sài Gòn New Port Corporation, said the TCCL port had resumed its normal operation. At present, the amount of goods left at the port is around 85 per cent of capacity, which will allow the port to operate.
The corporation has developed three plans to respond to possible scenarios for import and export of goods at ports in the last months of the year.
If the pandemic is brought under control in the late third quarter, the volume of goods passing through the city's ports in the last six months of the year would see an increase of 5-7 per cent compared to the first six months of the year.
The volume of goods would increase by 3-5 per cent compared to the first six months of the year if the pandemic is brought under control in the early fourth quarter. If it is brought under control in the middle of the fourth quarter, the volume of goods would be equivalent to the first six months of the year.
Under all the scenarios above, the amount of stored goods would be at 85-86 per cent of capacity at the TCCL port. — VNS