Vietnam will inspect foreign shipping lines for allegedly imposing unreasonable surcharges on local traders, the Government Office said Wednesday.
The ministries of finance, transport, and industry and trade will review all the surcharges to see if they violate Vietnam’s Competition Law as well as international norms and punish violators accordingly, it said.
Following the inspection, the ministries will also seek the government’s approval for a proposed list of shipping surcharges that can be applied in Vietnam.
Last August, trade associations and authorities lamented that many foreign shipping companies levied unreasonable fees on Vietnamese exporters and importers.
They said there were 10 kinds of surcharges in total, many of which were unreasonable.
The Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association for instance said its members must pay US$110 million of surcharges each year to shipping firms.
Bui Thien Thu, deputy chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Saigon Times) that Vietnamese companies must resort to foreign shipping firms as the domestic fleet is incapable of handling all the cargo.
Thu said shipping surcharges are included in transport fees.
Foreign shipping firms usually reduced transport fees to lure Vietnamese companies, but then they increased shipping surcharges to make up for the discount, he said.