According to transportation firms, each of their four-wheel vehicles is charged a fixed cost for road maintenance, insurance, parking lots, and BOT toll stations, among other fees, ranging from 20 million VND to 25 million VND (880-1,100 USD) per month.
The excessive amount of fees has led to more expensive services and fewer customers, they said at a meeting with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport and Transportation Cargo Association (HTA) on December 27.
BOT toll stations in HCM City, Dong Nai Province, Binh Duong province, and Vung Tau vity are distributed too densely, they said, adding that the average distance between each station ranges from 4.4km to 20km.
On some routes, the cost of passing through BOT stations is higher than that of fuels needed for vehicles to operate. Hence, it is necessary to reduce the number of road fees by 30 percent, transportation firms said.
Lam Dai Vinh, owner of a transportation firm, said: “Installation of BOT toll stations in some provinces reduced road costs for locals, but this was not seen in the five stations in HCM City.”
“It is also worth mentioning that though road fees are fully paid, transport firms haven’t received any benefit. My vehicles were stuck in traffic one time for four hours in the My Thuy area,” he added.
An owner of another transportation firm said that authorities had failed to provide solutions, though firms had complained multiple times.
For instance, it is unreasonable to charge a vehicle that handles 40 tonnes of goods 17 million VND (750 USD) per year for road maintenance while it only functions nine months a year, he said.
Nguyen Van Chanh, deputy director of HTA, agreed that transport enterprises in HCM City faced limited transport capacity, unhealthy competition, and inefficient administrative procedures.
Compared to last year, 2017 saw an increase in the number of vehicles, while that of transported goods decreased.
Specifically, the number of container trucks from 3.5 tonnes rose by 76 percent while the amount of road freight only increased by 7.5 percent.
Chanh said the imbalance between demand and transport capacity had created a crisis, leading to fierce competition, with many transportation firms reducing their service fee to 50 percent or transporting overloaded cargo in an effort to retain customers and maintain operations.
About 4,270 vehicles were fined for overloading in 2017, up 9.6 percent year-on year, with the total amount of 47 billion VND (2.08 million USD).
The government plans to reduce the road fees after completing necessary research, according to Tran Quang Lam, deputy director of the HCM City Transport Department.