Foreign shipping firms oppose freight-fee declaration

Date posted: 04.11.2015

In a document to the Prime Minister and the ministries’ heads, the legal representatives of shipping firms Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM, APL and Neptune Oriel Lines (NOL) called on management agencies to ‘consider the draft decision thoroughly’.

The shipping firms said their business operations would be seriously affected.

The draft decision says enterprises must make public freight and port service fees, and must inform the Vietnam Maritime Bureau (Vinamarine) 30 days in advance if they want to adjust fee levels.

The foreign shipping firms said that they provide container transport services under confidential contracts, and that if the firms have to declare service fees, rivals would have information about the transport costs of Vietnamese export companies and their clients.

The representative of a shipping firm warned that foreign companies that buy Vietnam’s exports will protest the request on service fee publication.

He said the companies may stop doing business with Vietnamese enterprises and use suppliers from other countries.

The shipping firms have also warned that the decision, once released, will put a heavy burden on Vinamarine because the watchdog agency will have to control the operation costs of international shipping firms, with thousands of transactions made every day.

They said it would be better for Vietnamese state management agencies to meet shipping firms to discuss the risks for Vietnamese import/export companies.

Vinamarine’s director of Le Xuan Sang said that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) wants to require shipping firms to publicize their service fees because it is necessary to ensure goods owners’ benefits.

Sang said that the transparency in the market will help goods owners cut unreasonable costs.

MOT plans to set up a new regulation, requiring shipping firms to publicize their shipping fees after Vietnamese goods owners voiced their complaints about unreasonable fees imposed by shipping firms.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) found from a survey that there are five kinds of disadvantageous fees for goods owners. These include freight rates, but they have been designed by shipping firms as separate surcharges.

Meanwhile, a report by the Ministry of Finance showed that of VND77.115 trillion shipping agents collected for shipping firms in 2013-2014, more than VND26 trillion were from surcharges.

According to MOT, 90 percent of Vietnam’s exports & imports are shipped by foreign firms. Nearly 100 percent of container goods to Europe and the US are undertaken by foreign firms.

Source: VNE