An exporter has to pay between VND1.3 million and 2.1 million to transport a container to a port, including five kinds of different fees, and payment for imported goods is much higher, said directors of the enterprises.
An importer has to suffer at least nine series of port fees, charging the business between VND1.6 million and VND3.8 million to carry a container from the port to its warehouse.
"Our company paid more than VND150 million a month for such fees for the monthly export of 400,000 products and imported materials," said Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, head of Sai Gon Joint Stock Garment Company No 3ís export-import section.
According to local textile businesses, the majority of garment companies fulfilling contracts with foreign partners are being paid US$1 per product, and the excess fees are becoming a heavy burden on their bottom line.
"The order price is decreasing to under US$1 per unit, meanwhile the fees tend to increase," Pham Xuan Hong, Sai Gon Joint Stock Garment Company No 3ís general director said, adding that fees have forced his company to reduce other expenses such as workers salaries.
Tam complained that several port fees are unreasonable and cited fees for cleaning and the deposit for a container as typical examples.
"We still have to pay extra costs for cleaning a container in addition to fees for packaging and transport of the container," she said.
Her enterprise deposits a sum of VND600,000 to carry a container to the warehouse for unloading goods, and if the container is damaged the deposit will be lost.
Nguyen Thi Ngo, Hoang Le Trade Ltd Company's director thought that the port entry fee should be reduced, as the current charge of VND10,000 per truck is too high.
Her company has to pay up to VND3.5 million for the port entrance fee for 350 trucks to transport 10,000 tonnes of imported goods.
A director from an enterprise in HCM City's District 9 felt frustrated with storage fees for imported goods, as it is rare for customs procedures to be completed within five days - the time limit for storage fee exemption.
So storage fees are particularly high for imported items which take the custom office time to check and calculate the import tax level.
But the thing most upsetting the enterprise was 'unreported' fees which the business has no invoice or receipt for, according to the director. These 'unreported' fees caused difficulties when entering them into the company's accounts.
"We would rather pay huge fees with invoices than under-the-table fees", he added.
Sharing the same opinion, Nguyen Thanh Lam, Viet-Euro's director emphasised that businesses are willing to accept the payments if the regulations on the port fees are made clearer.
Lam added that the 'unclear' fees made it difficult for Viet Nam to attract foreign investors.
According to Lam, in addition to such fees, increasing transport costs are giving enterprises greater headaches, as every three months transport vessel firms change their fees.
Importers and exporters have no choice but to pay the fees when foreign carriers account for 80 per cent of the local sea-transport market.
The local enterprises are calling for effective measures to reduce such kinds of fees which are impacting on their efforts to seek potential markets for their business.