VNNews_Increases in port charges must be carefully considered, says Viet Nam Maritime Administration
Careful consideration is needed before increasing seaport services charges to limit negative impacts on the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Việt Nam Maritime Administration. Responding to the Việt Nam Ship Agents, Brokers and Maritime Service Providers Association (VISABA)’s proposal to raise container handling charges, the maritime administration said while the COVID-19 pandemic was still complex and hitting firms hard, the logistics costs must not cause any more burdens for import and export firms. The Government also asked to keep service charges stable at this time. VISABA recently proposed the minimum container loading and unloading charges at some ports in the northern region be increased by 10 per cent annually for three consecutive years, starting from July 1, 2021. For deep-water seaports, Lạch Huyện and Cái Mép – Thị Vải, the increase was proposed to be at least 20 per cent from July 1 and 10 per cent for the next three years. Nguyễn Xuân Kỳ, general director of Tân Cảng - Cái Mép International Terminal Company Limited, said seaports played an important role in the circulation of goods, adding it was necessary to increase services changes so enterprises could have resources for reinvestment. According to the Việt Nam Maritime Administration, foreign shipping lines collect a terminal handling charge of around US$114-173 per container on their customers in Việt Nam. However, Việt Nam’s ports collect very low container handling charges, about $33 per 20ft-container at Đình Vũ, $52 at Cái Mép and $41 at HCM City. The container loading and unloading charges of Việt Nam remained low, only equivalent to 80 per cent of Cambodia, 70 per cent of Malaysia, 61 per cent of Indonesia and 46 per cent of Singapore. The low container handling charges were considered a competitive advantage of Việt Nam’s seaport system to attract big cargo container ships to deep-water seaports, including Cái Mép – Thị Vải and Lạch Huyện. Việt Nam has attracted 40 foreign shipping lines with the transported cargo volume increasing by an average of 13 per cent each year, helping promote the development of the logistics system and accelerate trade, according to the maritime administration. The maritime administration said reasonable seaport service charges helped not only attract shipping lines but also stabilise the market and prevent unhealthy competition among service providers. Port companies have reported profits, with Hải Phòng Port earning VNĐ173 billion after-tax profit in the first quarter of this year, while Đà Nẵng and Quy Nhơn reported increases by 7 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. The maritime administration said that Circular 54/2018/TT-BGTVT only regulated the minimum services charges and enterprises could charge higher fees than the minimum levels. However, most seaports were applying the minimum fees under the circular to attract shipping lines.