Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has ordered government agencies to take measures to help local importers and exporters reduce dependence on foreign shipping lines.
Relevant agencies were asked to upgrade infrastructure of marine ports and inland roads linking ports, to prevent foreign shipping firms from taking advantage of poor infrastructure to collect damage fees.
The Vietnam National Shipping Lines was asked to cooperate with relevant agencies to draw up plans for developing a container fleet and training personnel.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry was asked to negotiate shipping rates with shipping companies for transparent and reasonable charges and surcharges, so as to increase competitiveness in commodities exported from and imported to Vietnam.
The Finance Ministry was asked to develop policies to adjust and supplement regulations relating to pricing and charges and if necessary, to issue further regulations on management of shipping charges and surcharges.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade was ordered to consider and assess competitive issues relating to foreign shipping companies’ imposing surcharges on imported goods.
Earlier, Thanh Nien newspaper reported that the Ministry of Finance had submitted a report to the Government in March, saying that some shipping lines were asking Vietnamese importers for “congestion” and “container imbalance” charges.
Shipping companies explained the fees are meant to offset the cost of transporting empty containers out of Vietnam in case exports from the country are unable to match the inflow of goods.
The Finance Ministry said the surcharges have not been approved by the Vietnamese Government, which means collecting them is only a way to hike transportation costs. Many shipping lines have raised their fees at the same time and could be violating antitrust regulations.