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Vietnam maritime authority to inspect hike in freight fees, charges and surcharges

Hai Phong port. Photo: Pham Hung

The local authorities have taken measures to remove difficulties for import and export activities. The Vietnam Maritime Administration has requested the Ministries of Transportation, Industry and Trade, and Finance to launch an investigation into the rise in freight rates surcharge of shipping lines to Europe and the US.

The request was made following complaints of local associations, importers and exporters. Since late October 2020, the cost of ocean freight has sharply increased, especially shipping to Europe and the US is now two to ten times more expensive.

Specifically, the rental container cost to EU is around US$10,000 compared to a normal fee of US$1,500-1,800 while hiring a container from the US to Vietnam now costs US$5,000 since November from the normal price of US$700-1,000.

Covid-19 and the weather are hindering container repositioning from the US, Japan and China. As a result, the acute shortage of empty containers has led to increasing costs, affecting production and distribution of goods, especially during the peak season of exports and imports for agro-fisheries and production materials.

Most shipping lines have not published their freight rates and notified to the Vietnam Maritime Administration as regulated. Therefore, the authorities would inspect the rate increase in order to handle possible violations, remove difficulties for the businesses, and reduce costs for import and export.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, it is necessary for the General Department of Customs to speed up the clearance of a backlog of containers at seaports which is expected to ease the empty container shortage.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung requested two ministries of Industry and Trade, and Transport to coordinate with relevant agencies, associations and enterprises to take measures to remove difficulties for exporting goods.

The Deputy Prime Minister also demanded strict handling according to regulations on the increase in ship and container rental.