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Vietnam orders foreign box lines to publicize fees

Global container carriers calling Vietnam will have to publicize freight charges and surcharges as well as port service charges from July 1, 2017.

This is in line with the Vietnamese government’s Decree No. 146/2016/ND-CP, issued November 2 last year, which mandates the publication of these charges.

The measure is seen to ease the burden of high and varied shipping fees supposedly imposed by foreign liners on local importers and exporters.

The decree, entitled “Regulations on Publishing of Freights and Surcharges of Ocean Container Shipping and Seaport Charges,” targets containerized goods and does not cover bulk shipments, said an official of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) as reported by VietNamNet.

The rule is expected to make the shipping market more transparent, ease the burden of various fees on Vietnamese import-export firms, and promote healthy competition.

Shippers have been complaining of a recent spate of surcharges levied by foreign carriers on Vietnamese exporters and importers, which have reportedly borne nearly 20 different surcharges since 2011.

Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM, APL, and Neptune Orient Lines had made their objections known when the Ministry of Transport earlier sought comments on the draft decree. They claimed that their business operations would be seriously affected by the policy.

Vietnam Maritime Administration statistics showed that as of October 2014, there were 40 foreign shipping companies doing business in Vietnam, in charge of about 88% of the exports and imports of local enterprises.

A report from the Ministry of Finance showed that of the VND77.12 trillion (US$3.52 billion) that shipping agents collected for shipping firms in 2013-2014, more than VND26 trillion were surcharges.

Photo: Phó Nháy

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