Container loading and unloading service charges should be increased to approach the regional level so investors would not feel hesitant when pouring money into developing seaports.
The proposal was raised at a recent online conference held by the Vietnam Maritime Administration to discuss measures to remove difficulties for seaport and marine transportation companies.
Statistics showed container loading and unloading services charges of seaports in Vietnam were much lower than other regional countries.
Vietnam Ship Agents and Brokers Association deputy secretary-general Nhu Dinh Thien said the charges were about $33-53 per 20ft container and $57-98 per 40ft container. In comparison, Thailand charges around $59 per 20ft container and $91 per 40ft container, Singapore $111 and $159 and Cambodia $65 and $95, respectively.
Hai Phong Port director-general Nguyen Tuong Anh said with such low services charges, it would be difficult for ports to have funds for re-investment and improving services quality.
Tuong Anh said it was necessary to raise container loading and unloading services charges so seaports could have funds for expanding investment and improving quality.
The charges should also be attractive enough to draw investors to seaport development, he said.
He proposed container loading and unloading services charges be increased by 10 per cent, starting from next year, then a 10 per cent increase every two years.
Thien said the charges should be raised by 10 per cent from next year and another 10 per cent in 2022 and 2023.
Vietnam Shippers’ Council secretary-general Phan Thong said the increases in loading and unloading services charges should be appropriate to make up for the costs of seaport companies while not significantly pushing up logistics costs.
Vietnam Shipowners’ Association secretary-general Bui Van Trung said appropriate container loading and unloading services changes were important to attract investment to develop seaports.
The charges should be adjusted to gradually approach regional levels, Trung said.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said that increasing seaport services charges was necessary given the significant gaps in services fees with other countries in the region.
Cong said container loading and unloading charges needed to increase to be equivalent to 60-70 per cent of the regional average by 2025 and to approach the regional level after that, or at least equivalent to Cambodia’s.
Cong stressed the increases were only in ceiling prices, meaning shipowners could have the room for negotiations.
Cong also asked the Vietnam Maritime Administration to develop an appropriate frame for seaport services charges to ensure companies would have funds for reinvestment and upgrades of infrastructure.
Cong said the ministry would make efforts to complete the draft amending Circular 54/2018/TT-BGTVT about seaport services charges and submit it to the government for issuance before January 1, 2021.
In the first half of this year, more than 339 million tonnes of cargo were shipped through seaports in Vietnam, up by seven per cent against the same period last year, statistics of the Vietnam Maritime Administration showed.
The capacity of Vietnam’s seaport system increased from 73 million tonnes of cargo in 2000 to currently 650-700 million tonnes.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK