Vietnam Maritime Administration sets up task force to inspect container shipping rates

The task force is responsible for addressing complaints from forwarders that there has been unreasonable surge in container shipping rates.

Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) has set up a task force to ensure shipping companies complying with the government’s Decree No.146 detailing regulations on publishing of fees and surcharges of ocean container freight and seaport charges.

Cargos handling at Hai Phong port. Photo: Cong Hung

The task force, chaired by VMA Vice Head Hoang Hong Giang, would include 13 members from the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Industry and Trade and be responsible for addressing complaints from forwarders that there has been unreasonable surge in container shipping rates.

Since last November, most shipping companies have announced price hikes of two to 10-fold in ocean freight rates, mainly due to a recovery in demand for freight transport in China since the third quarter of last year. As a result, shipping firms have been moving their empty containers to China to take advantage of the high sea freight fee in the country, causing a shortage of containers in Vietnam and resulting in a high fee for forwarders.

Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) informed the container rental fee to the UK in October was listed at US$1,420 per 20-feet container, but rose to $7,200 in December and US$10,550 in January. Similarly, container rental fee from Vietnam to Los Angeles before October stood at $700-1,000 per container, and now is listed at nearly $6,000.

Under current regulations, shipping companies would face fines up to VND1 million ($43.45) for failing to publish fees and charges of ocean freight, and from VND1-3 million ($43.45-130.3) for ambiguous pricing policy and not submitting in detail freight fees back to the VMA if requested.

In case shipping firms deliberately quote prices different from their current pricing policies approved by competent authorities, the fine would go up to VND5 million (US$215.5).

Hanoi Times

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