Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong spoke with VET about measures aimed at raising private investment in the maritime sector.
■ The socialization of investment in transportation infrastructure in general and seaports in particular has increased significantly. Can you tell us about efforts to attract domestic and foreign investment in the sector?
Among the five sectors in the transportation industry, the maritime sector has a high degree of socialization. Seaports, storage, equipment and shipyards are most commonly explored by private organizations and enterprises. The government has only invested in determining navigable channels, building sea walls, and some other public maritime infrastructure.
The policy of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) is to encourage private investment to minimize the outlay of State budget funds. We will create favorable policies to ensure a balance is struck between the interests of private investors and the State.
■ How will the amended Law on Navigation facilitate and promote the process of socialization?
The amended law will undoubtedly contribute to the process. We are introducing legislation not only on the State’s management but also to create the conditions for investment to bring socio-economic benefits and ensure national security.
Minister Dinh La Thang has directed the creation of a project to socialize all transport sectors. The Law on Navigation will contribute to the legal framework being able to socialize the construction of maritime infrastructure.
■ Some foreign shippers have pushed up prices by increasing cargo certification and shipping charges. What has MoT done to help Vietnam shipping companies and products enter international markets more easily?
The freight rate is adjusted by the market but some foreign shippers abuse their monopoly position to raise rates higher than reality as well as add extra charges.
These charges are common practice in other countries. Vietnam currently has 13 types of extra charges that foreign carriers collect in the country.
Under the direction of the government, we are studying the practice and experience of other countries and related legislation.
There is also a draft legal document that forces foreign shipping companies to register freight rates and extra charges transparently. This will allow State agencies to be able to check and identify any errors. Unreasonable charges must be explained to State agencies.
At a recent meeting with the United States Maritime Administration, they shared their experience with us. Through this, as well as the recent inspection by the Ministry of Finance, the situation of high freight rates or unreasonable extra charges by foreign enterprises will be resolved shortly to ensure the implementation of international rules and legal compliance as well as to protect the benefits of both the carrier and the shipper.