Container handling charge increases proposed to attract investment in seaports
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.
Containers loaded at Cat Lai Port,, HCM City. Container loading and unloading services charges should be increased approaching the regional level so that investors would not feel hesitant when pouring money in developing seaports.
The proposal was raised at a recent online conference held by the Viet Nam 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 Viet Nam were much lower than other regional countries.
According to Nhu Dinh Thien, Deputy General Secretary of the Viet Nam Ship Agents and Brokers Association, the charges were about US$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.
Nguyen Tuong Anh, general director of Hai Phong Port, 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 2021, then a 10 per cent increase every two years.
According to Thien, the charges should be raised by 10 per cent from 2021 and another 10 per cent in 2022 and 2023.
Phan Thong, General Secretary of Viet Nam Shippers’ Council, 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.
Bui Van Trung, General Secretary of Viet Nam Shipowners’ Association, 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 Viet Nam 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 that 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.
Mai Phuong Hong, from the Ministry of Finance’s Price Management Department, said the increases of seaport charges needed to be given careful consideration in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to limit the impacts on business operation, imports and exports as well as the consumer price index.
In the first half of this year, more than 339 million tonnes of cargo were shipped through seaports in Viet Nam, up by 7 per cent against the same period last year, statistics of the Viet Nam Maritime Administration showed.
The capacity of Viet Nam's seaport system increased from 73 million tonnes of cargo in 2000 to currently 650-700 million tonnes. — VNS