A high-speed vessel carries passengers to Quang Ngai Province's Ly Son Island.  Photo: VNA

The Ministry of Transport has asked the Prime Minister to arrange for a list of sea transport fees and port charges to be published to stop ship owners from over-charging.

Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Cong on August 18 said shipping firms relied on a lack of printed information to fleece goods owners.

Publicity on official sea freight fees and port charges is expected to help rectify the situation.

The move would also create a base to punish violators, Cong said.

According to Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association, it spends about 110 million USD or one percent of its import-export value a year on extra shipping fees. The fees sometime rise by 20 percent a year, affecting revenue - and even survival.

Transport Ministry reports show that Vietnam has 32 container ships that operate mostly on inland waterways and routes within Southeast Asia.

About 40 foreign sea transport firms also operate in Vietnam, carrying up to 88 percent of goods exported/ imported to Vietnam.

Trinh The Cuong, Head of the Maritime Transportation and Services Division under the ministry's Vietnam Maritime Department, said that ports usually imposed container service charges (CSC) of 35-46 USD for a 20-foot container and 45-68 USD for a 40-foot container.

The CSC are additional costs on top of sea freight charged by shipping companies for the handling of containers at container terminals before being loaded onboard a vessel.

However, when shipping companies billed their customers, they usually charged 90-110 USD in container service charges per 20-foot container and 120-145 USD per 40-foot container, Cuong said.

The shipping companies said the overcharge for other container-relating fees besides loading fee that they paid to port manager.

Most shipping firms agreed that sea transport fees and port service charges needed to be more transparent.

A representative from APL, a container shipping company, said early this month in HCM City that publicising transport fee and port service charges would provide goods owners with official information to select shippers.-VNA