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Firms want clear transport fees

Update: April, 12/2016 - 10:06
Goods being loaded at Dung Quat Port. Enterprises are seeking transparency regarding marine transport fees. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

HÀ NỘI Viet Nam News - — Enterprises appreciated the Ministry of Transport’s work to build a decree to regulate charges of marine transport and port services, said an official from an export association.

Trương Đình Hòe, General Secretary of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), expressed the support as he talked to Hải quan, an online newspaper of Việt Nam Customs.

Hòe said the decree is necessary to boost transparency in seaway transport. It will make it easier for importers and exporters to select shipping companies with quality services, and better control their production and business activities.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Công told a meeting at the ministry’s headquarters last month that charges and surcharges related to marine transport and port services were a “hot” issue, which interested many enterprises.

Importers and exporters said that shipping firms were accelerating the imposition of surcharges to compensate their costs, as transporters had to cut freights to stay competitive in the face of harsh competition.

Shipping companies were setting different levels of surcharges at their discretion without proper notifications to good owners, and this caused complaints from importers and exporters.

Yesterday, Việt Nam News browsed the websites of several domestic ports, including northern Hải Phòng Port, central Đà Nẵng Port and southern Cát Lái Ports looking for service charges information. Few of the websites provided charge information.

Among the minority is HCM City’s Sài Gòn Port, which lists the rates for tow vessel services at between US$255 and $600 per time of tow, during 2016. The port also quotes surcharges of 30 per cent to 100 per cent for certain towing distances.

Nam Hải Đình Vũ Port in northern Hải Phòng City lists the costs for container elevation at between VNĐ300,000 and VNĐ640,000 (between $13 and $28) per container, this year. It quotes 50 per cent to 100 per cent surcharges for cases such as frozen or noxious goods containers, or oversize and overweight units.

Phạm Kiều Oanh, Deputy General Director of HCM City-based garment firm Nhà Bè, told Hải quan that container elevation fees have risen by three to five per cent at many ports since January 1, 2016. None of the ports gave clear explanations about the increase, she said.

Hòe of VASEP said Vietnamese enterprises usually ink import contracts with the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) condition, and export contracts with the FOB (free on board) condition. Foreign partners are mainly responsible for shipping phases.

Although CIF and FOB are international shipping routines, Vietnamese firms don’t have clear knowledge of shipping surcharges nor can they negotiate the surcharges.

Deputy Minister Công said as these issues impact on production and business activities of domestic enterprises, and that this matter has been mentioned in the revised Maritime Code 2015, the decree should be issued soon.

According to Hải quan, a draft decree is already available and stipulates the reponsibility and contents for marine transport and port companies to publicise their charges and surcharges on their websites, as well as the Việt Nam Maritime Administration’s.

Hòe suggested that the decree should also stipulate sanctions for violators of the regulations. — VNS

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