Hai Phong plans to slash freight fees hinh anh 1Hai Phong port (Photo: VNA)

Hai Phong (VNS/VNA) - 
Leaders of the northern port city of Hai Phong are collecting opinions from four associations and relevant agencies to submit to the municipal People’s Council to reduce fees for using infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities at its ports.

Le Van Thanh, Secretary of the city Party Committee and Chairman of the municipal People’s Council, said at a working session with the Prime Minister’s Working Group on September 19 that adjustments in seaport charge rates would be up for approval at the municipal People’s Council meeting in December.

He said that fees for import-export goods stored in 20 feet shipping containers (250,000 VND per container) and in 40 feet containers (500,000 VND per container) were currently considered reasonable.

Fees for liquid and bulk cargo are proposed to be reduced from 20,000 VND to 16,000 VND per tonne.

Thanh said fees for import and export of goods at ports in Hai Phong were equal to just a half of the fees for 20 feet shipping container and 62.5 percent of the fees for 40 feet shipping container applied at border gates in Lao Cai and Lang Son.

According to the Hai Phong municipal People’s Committee, after eight months of collecting fees for seaport infrastructure use, 617 businesses have fallen into arrears worth about 45.7 billion VND (2.01 million USD).

At the working session, Truong Van Cam, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, said while the implementation of seaport infrastructure fees in Hai Phong was legal, if it was done without collecting opinions, it would make it difficult for enterprises to respond.

“We know that the city approved four documents and announced fee collection to businesses on the same day,” Cam said.

He asked Hai Phong to quickly consider reducing fees to help enterprises in accordance with guidance from the Prime Minister.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said Hai Phong ports had reported low competitiveness compared to other ports in the country and the region.

For example, a container from Hai Phong port to Yokohama (Japan) costs 1,000 USD while the cost from Guangzhou to Yokohama is 170 USD.

Tran Dinh Thien, Director of the Vietnam Economics Institute, said that the shortcomings in Hai Phong could be a barrier for development of the northern region.

Do Hoang Anh Tuan, Deputy Minister of Finance, also proposed that Hai Phong consider reducing fees for import and export by 25-50 percent compared to the current levels to support domestic enterprises.

Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, repeated the PM’s requirement at the working session to focus on resolving business difficulties, especially reducing costs this year.

Currently, the time for special inspections has been long, accounting for 78 percent of the total time for customs clearance of imported and exported goods.

The Hai Phong Customs Office said the time for customs clearance procedures was less than 50 hours. However, they had to wait for results of special inspections, increasing the time for customs clearance to 10 days.

A calculation by the CIEM revealed that local companies have taken time and costs of 28.6 million working days and 14.3 trillion VND for completing the procedures each year.

“The working group will have a meeting with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the issues, Dung added.

He said that special inspections had created an extremely big barrier to business. The reforms to reduce administrative procedures, especially special inspections, would provide momentum for higher growth.-VNA