>> Transporters ask for lower expressway fee
>> High expressway fee may be revised
>> Fee collection reduces traffic on expressway
>> HCMC-Trung Luong expressway users to pay fee today
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, deputy transport minister Nguyen Hong Truong said the fee rates, which have been applied since February 25, 2012, had been properly calculated based on consideration of similar rates in other countries and on Vietnamese people’s income.
After two years of not imposing a traffic fee on the 61.9-km expressway that links HCMC to Tien Giang and Long An provinces, it was time to introduce fee collection to meet the capital return schedule of the project, which has been developed in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) form, Truong said.
Assigned the responsibility by the Government, the Finance Ministry has made calculations to fix the fee rates that serve the project’s capital return. Accordingly, the rates have been set at VND1,000 to VND8,000 (US$0.38) per km, depending on the vehicles’ types and loading capacities, he said.
“Many transport firms have complained that these rates were too high, but in fact, they are still lower than those in a number of countries in the region. In China, for example, the rate is 1 yuan (VND2,500) per km,” Truong said.
For the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh expressway, the traffic fee has been set at VND1,500 per km but no complaints have been made by users, he said.
Asked why there is a plan to set up fee collection stations on National Highway 1A, which runs parallel with the expressway, Truong said the fee collection will help share the volume of traffic between the two roads. Otherwise, a large quantity of vehicles would use the toll-free road to avoid the expressway, leading to the highway becoming overloaded and quickly damaged.
Furthermore, the fees will generate a revenue source for the expressway’s investors to recover their capital. For these reasons, the fee collection scheme on National Highway 1A in the near future has been approved by the Government.
A section of National Highway 1A that runs through Binh Tan District, HCMC (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
As reported earlier, the HCMC Goods Transport Association has petitioned the Prime Minister to lower the fee rates on the 61.9-km Ho Chi Minh City –Trung Luong expressway by up to 50 percent for trucks.
According to Luong Hoang Trung, deputy chairman of the association, a large quantity of cargo transporters that carry goods from HCMC to the Mekong Delta provinces and vice versa cannot afford the fee rate of VND8,000 per km levied on over-18-ton trucks and container trucks.
For example, Trung said, if a truck travels 40 km on the expressway to deliver goods to its customer, it will have to pay a total VND640,000 for the trips to and back from the customer.
Such an expense is too high, because calculations made by most cargo transporters show that a transporter can earn only VND300,000-400,000 for a delivery trip within a distance of 100 km, Trung said.
Thus, if the customer does not agree to a 20% increase in transport fees, the transporter cannot even earn enough money to pay the expressway fees, let alone making any profit, he said.