Transport companies that have to frequently travel on National Highway No.51 have recently been shocked to learn that the traffic toll on the route will be doubled from the current rate.
The Ministry of Finance has stipulated that the toll fees on the highway, connecting Bien Hoa City of the southern province of Dong Nai and Vung Tau City in coastal Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, should be doubled for all types of vehicles once it is completely repaired and upgraded.
Specifically, the fee for a 40 feet container truck to pass the Long Thanh toll booth in Dong Nai will be VND160,000 a turn, instead of the current VND80,000 rate.
A similar rate will also be applied for the Tan Hai toll booth in Ba Ria - Vung Tauís Tan Thanh District, which is scheduled to be built once work on upgrading the highway is completed.
The new fee scheme has stunned transport companies in the coastal province.
"The increased toll will affect the business effectiveness of transporters like us," said Ton Duc Hai, director of Truong Ton Co Ltd.
"We currently receive a small profit of VND300,000 per transport route, but the higher toll will halve this modest sum," he lamented.
Tran Ngoc Tho, director of Trung Transportation Co Ltd, said the increase is illogical as the highway's area will be expanded by less than 40 percent.
Consumers affected too
The toll collection to recoup investment for the project to expand National Highway No.51 is expected to continue for 24 years and 8 months, according to the finance ministry, a long period that transporters said may have a long-term affect on goods transportation services.
"Businesses working in steel and agricultural products that import goods via the Cai Mep - Thi Vai Port in Vung Tau will have to suffer higher transport costs, which will be counted into the productsí retailing prices, and the end-customers will suffer it all," said Tran Khanh Sinh, director of Cai Mep New Port.
Meanwhile, travel agencies are also concerned over the increased toll.
"Traffic costs always account for a great proportion in the total expense of the tour organizers, and the higher toll will surely cause a disadvantage for local tourism," commented Tran Tuan Viet, chairman of the Ba Ria Ė Vung Tau Travel Association.