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Truck operators bemoan tolls

Update: March, 01/2012 - 10:05

HCM CITY — Goods transporters in HCM City have petitioned the Government to reduce toll rates on the HCM City – Trung Luong Expressway, warning of inflationary pressure.

In a letter sent on Tuesday, the HCM City Association of Goods Transport called on the Government to cut the rates by half "to limit the impacts on prices of goods and services amidst the ongoing economic turmoil."

Most HCM City-based transport companies used heavy trucks of over 10 tonnes or container trucks to deliver goods to the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta. With the toll fee at VND8,000 per kilometre, each truck has to pay VND640,000 for a return trip.

"It [the high toll fees] will have an impact on goods prices, and finally be shouldered by customers," the letter said.

"Drivers will certainly choose National Highway No. 1A to escape the toll on the expressway."

The fee levels were unreasonable, it said, pointing out that while the toll on a 40-foot container truck was double that on a 20-foot truck, the transport fees for the two vehicles were almost the same.

On the other hand, 12-seat and 30-seat vans had to pay the same tolls of VND1,500 per kilometre, it said.

It also asked the Government to disallow toll gates on National No 1A to "support" the expressway.

The association cited the Ordinance on Fees and Charges saying vehicles not using the expressway did not have to pay the toll.

According to the expressway manager, the Cuu Long Infrastructure Investment Development and Management Corporation (CIPM), on the first day of toll collection, February 25, only 18,000 vehicles used the expressway, half the regular number.

"It is an unexpected slump," Nguyen Van Phong, deputy general director of the Cuu Long CIPM, said.

The number could drop further, he feared.

Le Duc Tuan, chief of Cuu Long's administration department, said any reduction in toll could only be decided by the Ministries of Finance and Transport.

Most of the money collected will go to the Government, with 7 per cent to be used for toll collection expenses and road maintenance.

The six-lane expressway, built at a cost of nearly VND10 trillion (US$476 million), is one of the country's most modern expressways, allowing vehicles to travel at 120km per hour. — VNS

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