Higher Shipping Costs Stunt Vietnamese Exports

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Jul. 16 – Goods exported from Vietnam are incurring higher fees compared to exports coming from other Asian countries despite similar sea routes and destination points, says shipping industry experts and exporters in Vietnam.

Only export goods bound for the United States shipping from the new Cai Mep deepwater port can offer competitively lower rates. A 20 foot container of goods from Danang is charged US$300-US$400 higher compared to ports in Thailand.

Tran Thien Linh, director of Thuan Phuoc Seafood Co., says Vietnamese companies are paying US$1,000 more in fees than Chinese companies to transport a 40 foot container to Europe.

He says: “Every year, we export 400-450 containers to other countries in the world. If we pay US$500 more for every container due to the higher transport fee, this means that we ‘lose’ as much as US$225,000 a year.”

A shipping firm manager tells Tuo Trei Daily that transport fees from Vietnam are more expensive because ports cannot handle the biggest container ships.  So far, it is only the new Cai Mep deepwater port that has the capacity.

“Shipping firms cannot bring big ships to the ports. They can only bring smaller ships which will gather goods for transshipment to larger vessels in ports in other countries before they are carried to export countries,” the manager says.

Vietnamese ports also tend to charge fees that are 10 percent more expensive than their regional counterparts. Higher shipping fees may affect Vietnam’s export trade which accounted for 61 percent of GDP in 2009.