Import/export companies say that there was no legitimate reason for the Saigon Port Corporation to raise service fees, complaining that the fee increases would push enterprises up against the wall.
Many companies have struggled during the recession, and they say that higher port service fees would increase production costs and weaken their competitiveness.
The Saigon Port Corporation raised the port service fees on July 15.
The one to six day container lift (C/L) fee to be applied to dry and frozen goods has been raised to VND275,000 per 20 feet container, VND485 per 40 feet and VND570,000 per 45 feet container. The goods owners will be charged higher fees for longer storage time.
A 20-foot container of dry goods, for example, is charged VND275,000 per day for the first six days of storage.
However, the goods owners will have to pay VND550,000 per day for the seventh to 15th day and VND710,000 for the 16th day.
Explaining the decision on raising port service fees, Ngo Trong Phan, deputy general director of the Tan Cang Saigon Corporation, said the fee adjustments aimed to force goods owners to quickly clear their goods to improve port capacity.
Phan complained that imports and exports have been backed up in high quantities at the port, which has seriously affected the productivity of the port development firm, shipping firms and customers.
Nguyen Van Kha of a Dong Nai-based garment company said containers of goods bear too many kinds of fees. The total logistics fees have increased by 20-30 percent over 2013, which has led to a sharp decrease in profits.
The businessman said in the past, he had to pay VND5-6 million in service fees for every 20-foot container, but now he has to pay VND7-8 million.
While the input costs have increased sharply, sales have decreased due to weak market demand.
Kha warned that the fee increases will not help hasten the goods clearance at ports.
The biggest problem that has caused the deadlock is the new regulation by the Ministry of Transport on verifying vehicles’ loading.
Previously, it took Kha three days to carry goods to the north, but now it takes five days. He said that now transport firms have to spend more time to have their vehicles verified in loading.
The transport fee and port service fee increases have pushed the other kinds of fees up in a kind of ‘domino effect’.
Another businessman noted that goods owners now tend to have their goods pass through the Cat Lai Port because the Vietnam International Container Terminal (VICT) is small and the customs procedures are too complicated for businesses.
As a result, the goods deadlock at Cat Lai port is getting more and more serious.
A senior executive of a farm produce export company headquartered in HCM City said farm produce exporters have suffered the most from logistics fee increases.
Input costs of his enterprise have doubled, while market demand remains weak, he said.