Exporters, importers cry foul over hike in shipping charges

By Duc Minh, Phuong Dung   February 23, 2024 | 01:13 am PT
Exporters, importers cry foul over hike in shipping charges
Tan Vu Port in Hai Phong City. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Traders are complaining that shipping companies have raised terminal handling charge by 10% this month, adding to their difficulties caused by the rising tensions in the Red Sea.

The Vietnam Shippers Council, representing exporters and importers, made the complaint in a recent letter to the transport and finance ministries and other relevant government agencies.

Phan Thong, general secretary of the council, said for many years foreign shipping companies have raised charges and fees on their own without the need to seek approval from authorities. They have a monopoly over Vietnamese trade.

Their charges are often several times the fee traders pay port operators.

This month they raised terminal handling charges from $180-190 to $200-210 for a 40-foot container.

They further levy 10 other charges and fees ranging from $9 to $100 per container.

Thong said the increase this month is only in Vietnam and no other country.

Traders also complained that the foreign shipping firms took advantage of the tensions in the Red Sea to hike charges.

In explanation, the shipping firms said the tension have forced them to take longer routes that take an additional seven to 10 travel days, which increases costs.

Spokespersons for South Korean shipping firm Hyundai Merchant Marine and Japanese firm Ocean Network Express said the increases are all based on market developments, and they inform customers before making any hike.

But Vietnam Shippers’ Council now demands that authorities require these shipping firms to inform them of the hikes. It also wanted the shipping firms to be taxed if they make windfall profits.

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