Shipping firms and port operators would have to publish freight or service charge rates on their websites and the website of the Vietnam Maritime Administration.
Besides, any adjustments to freight or service charge rates would be made public at least 30 days in advance before imposition.
Containers at Chua Ve port, Hai Phong city__Photo:ndh.vn
These are provided in a decision drafted by the Ministry of Transport with a view to seeking solutions to the current situation that shipping firms, especially foreign ones, impose unreasonable surcharges, causing harms to Vietnamese exporters.
According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the draft decision, if approved, would protect lawful rights and interests of customers that use services provided by shipping firms and port service providers.
Obviously, foreign shipping firms oppose the proposal.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a UK-based law firm representing four foreign shipping firms including MSC, CMA-CGM, APL and NOL, has sent a document to the Prime Minister and related agencies recommending reconsideration of the draft decision as it, once approved, could have a detrimental impact on Vietnam’s exports.
According to the law firm, in the context that most international freight adheres to privacy contract terms, the requirement to make public freight charges will enable foreign rivals to get to know about the transport costs of Vietnamese exporters and their customers. “Those who buy Vietnamese goods would strongly object to the requirement and may possibly seek new suppliers in other countries,” the document read.
At present, there are about 40 foreign shipping firms operating in the country, transporting roughly 90 percent of Vietnam’s imports and exports. In just two years 2013 and 2014, Vietnamese goods owners had to pay to foreign carriers a total freight charge of VND 77 trillion (USD 3.53 billion), of which surcharges, including terminal handling charge, port congestion surcharge, container imbalance charge and container cleaning and repair surchage, mounted to VND 26.5 trillion (USD 1.2 billion).- (VLLF)