Ngo Huu Loi, head of the Finance Ministry’s Tax Policy Department, told Tuoi Tre that when the department receives a request to lower fees from the HCMC Goods Transport Association, it will report to the ministry, which will in turn work with the Transport Ministry on a possible adjustment.
The association earlier reported that many transport firms have complained that the fees are far higher than those being applied for other expressways in the country.
Nguyen Van Phong, deputy general director of the Cuu Long Transport Infrastructure Management Investment and Development Corporation(CPIM) which collects the fee, said the volume of vehicles using the HCMC-Trung Luong expressway decreased by 20– 25 percent in the first three days following their institution.
For the past five days, vehicles using the expressway have had to pay VND40,000-320,000 (US$1.92-15.4) for using the entire length of the road. For vehicles using only part of the expressway, the fee rates will be calculated based on the unit price per kilometer, ranging from VND1,000 to VND8,000 per kilometer, depending on the vehicles’ type and loading capacity.
As a result of the increased rates, a large number of goods transporters have opted to travel on National Highway 1A instead of the expressway, with a view to avoid paying a fee that they said would raise transport costs by 20 percent and eventually push up the price of consumer goods.
Loi said the fee rates, which had been proposed by CPIM, were promulgated by the Finance Ministry after the Transport Ministry approved them.
With regard to a fee collection station on the National Highway 1A to support the fee collection on the expressway, Loi said the fee for the highway, if applied, would be a normal road fee and could not be used as an addition to the fee revenue from the expressway.
Under current regulations, the possible fee for the highway would be VND10,000 ($0.48) for cars with less than 10 seats, which is equal to 25% of the minimum fee being applied for the expressway.
Many vehicles travels on National Highway 1A instead of the HCMC-Trung Luong expressway (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
50% trucks to keep away from expressway
Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Vietnamese Automobile Transport Association, said the fees on the expressway has given a shock to transporters but eventually, the actual sufferers will be the consumers, since the price of goods will increase along with a rise in transport costs.
“I have information that about 50 percent of cargo trucks will continue using National Highway 1A instead of the expressway,” Hung said.
Transport firms have to comply with contracts made with their clients, and if they want to make changes to the transport costs that have already been stated in the contracts, they will have to re-negotiate, Hung explained.
“Many firms have worked with their clients regarding the increase in transport costs, but they have failed to reach an agreement,” he said.
Hung also disagreed with the proposed collection of fees on National Highway 1A, arguing that if traffic fees have already been collected on the expressway, they should not be applied for the highway.
He said he had known that there was a plan to impose fees equal to 60 percent of those on the expressway as an attempt to force vehicles to use it.
In order to encourage vehicles to use the expressway, Loi proposed that the ministries of Finance and Transport lower the current fee based on extending the time of capital return of the investor.