Sources from local logistics service companies told VIR that the $8.8 million X-ray container scanning system for imported and exported goods at the port was irritating hundreds of firms.
A Hanoi-based logistics firm representative said firms had to ask for written permission from container owners before scanning which was burdensome. "They also have to seek written permission from the port's customs agency to move containers out of the port area for scanning."
The source said the system worked a limited number of hours per day which caused container congestion and forced firms to pay fees for containers kept at the scanning area.
Moreover, companies had to pay fees for lifting and landing containers when they were scanned.
Another logistics firm source lamented that the scanning system was located three kilometres from the port which was a nightmare. "The process took time and cost over $100 for a container to be scanned."
Each container used to be physically examined by customs officers at the port for at least two hours. Vietnam Customs claimed the scanning system had helped reduce the time to only 15 minutes for each container, while assisting enterprises to save costs.
The container scanning system was put into operation in May, this year and is funded by the Japanese government through a non-refundable aid for a project to enhance customs management.
Expected to help detect trade fraud, prevent the trading of illegal cargo and shorten time for customs clearance, the scanner system was installed by Japan's Sojitz Group and builder Nakano Company and manufactured by Britainís Rapiscan System Company.
Controlled by a software system, it scans 150 vehicles transporting containers per day with 15 minutes per container.
In a similar development, a $9.6 million container scanner was in early April last year commissioned at Ho Chi Minh City's Cat Lai port, which handles 45 per cent of containers moving in and out of Vietnam.
The system is aimed to accelerate the handling of containers, reduce storage costs for businesses, ease the congestion at the port and prevent smuggling and the transport of banned cargo.
This scanner is reported to run at 40 per cent of its capacity due to poor container transport services at the port. It is designed by US-based L3 Communications Corporation and funded by the Japanese government.