Shipping agent expect recovery opportunities

Tuoi tre newspaper two weeks ago quoted some shipping firms as saying that the shipping fee of imports and exports would increase significantly. The firms have said that the new shipping fees for the goods to Europe and Africa would begin increasing from March 2013.

Also according to the newspaper, some shipping firms have informed the increase of fee to 700 dollars per TEU, which is double the current rate. As for the imports from some ports in Europe, the new fees have been applied since mid February, which saw the increases of 200-300 dollars per TEU.

Businesses have been told that the shipping fees increase because of the firm high oil prices. Meanwhile, shipping firms all tend to raise the fees again after having to lower the fees sharply one year ago. The fee increases would have influences to the logistics costs of importers and exporters.

Nevertheless, Do Xuan Quynh, Chair of the Vietnam Ship Owners’ Association said on Dau tu that in 2012, the shipping fees on domestic and international routes would not see big changes in comparison with 2011.

Quynh was very surprised when hearing the news about the fee increases. He has affirmed that the downward trend is still dominating the container transport market. As the global trade has been decreasing, the tonnage redundancy has become more and more serious, especially for big tonnage ships,

It is estimated that the number of container ships waiting for goods has reached 700, including many ships with the tonnage of 3000 TEU.

Quynh went on to say that even if the shipping fees are raised, only foreign ship owners would get benefit, not Vietnamese shipping firms.

In the past, when Vietnam still did not have deep water ports, container ships took the job of collecting goods from Vietnamese ports to the transit ports in Hong Kong or Singapore to provide goods to mother ships. From the day Vietnam has deep water ports, mother ships can dock at Vietnamese ports to receive goods. Therefore, Vietnamese container ships can also provide services on domestic routes or lease to foreign businesses at low fee, because the demand for the ships is not high.

A report of the Vietnam Maritime Bureau showed that of the 1633 ships bear the Vietnamese flag, 1013 ships with the total tonnage of 3 million DWT specialize in domestic routes. Most of them are bulk carriers with the tonnage of less than 5000 DWT. There are 38 container ships, but only two of them are capable to carry more than 1000 TEUs.

“We have excessive tonnage for the small-tonnage ships, while we lack specialized and big tonnage ships,” said Nguyen Ngoc Hue, former Head of the maritime bureau.

According to General Director of VInalines Nguyen Canh Viet, a lot of ship owners have been trying to sell ships, though the sale prices are much lower than the buy prices.

“2012 would be a very tough year for maritime transport firms,” Viet has warned.

The total tonnage of the fleet bearing the Vinalines flag is about 3.4 million tons, including the 795,000 tonne fleet handed over by Vinashin. A lot of the valuable ships purchased recently have been struggling hard to seek clients.

“The pressure on shipping firms is very hard, especially when the interest rates have climbed to 23-24 percent. The interest for a 30-40 billion dong loan, which is enough to buy a 20,000 tonne ship, alone would gobble up all the turnover of the ship,” said Director of Bien Dong shipping firm Tran Thien.


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