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Different regulations increase difficulties for transport sector

09:30 | 28/07/2021

VCN - Nguyen Van Quyen, Chairman of Vietnam Automobile Transport Association spoke to Customs News.

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Mr. Nguyen Van Quyen
Mr. Nguyen Van Quyen

Could you tell us about the difficulties that transport enterprises are facing since the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially when some localities across the country are applying Directives 15 and 16?

The transportation industry is facing many obstacles. Amid the social distancing and movement restrictions because of the pandemic, only about 20-30% of passenger cars are in operation, and the number of passengers does not exceed 50% of their capacity. Especially when the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic started at the end of April 2021, the number of car passengers decreased further.

Freight transportation activities have decreased by 20-30% and are mainly concentrated in long-distance transport units and cross-border transport that requires strict procedures. Transporting goods through border gates faces a long wait time for delivery. Drivers who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 are not allowed to go through the border gate, forcing businesses to hire service drivers, greatly increasing costs.

Businesses usually do customs clearance procedures for goods in advance. However, drivers must take a Covid-19 test and wait 10 – 24 hours for its result (depending on the locality), which causes businesses to pay a penalty for this delay.

Additionally, when the pandemic occurs in a certain area, each locality sets out different regulations, causing the transportation process to be interrupted and delayed for 3-5 days. This makes it difficult for businesses in all aspects. Currently, many freight businesses have to refuse new contracts but only complete the old contracts because if they do, the costs will be too high and their drivers also take time for isolation after each trip.

The Ministry of Transport has asked localities to accept results of both antigen tests and PCR tests to facilitate fast goods circulation. Does this help transport businesses, sir?

Minister Nguyen Van The has concluded this, but according to our records in the past two days, the approval of results by antigen tests and PCR tests has not been unified, causing difficulties for drivers when transporting goods. Many localities require drivers to have a PCR test certificate to enter.

Additionally, the validity period of negative Covid-19 test results in different localities is not the same (for example: Binh Duong and HCM City is three days, Long An is five days and Dong Nai is seven days). Regarding this issue, we propose to extend the time frame from three days to seven days. Because three days is the right time to complete a bus trip within the province and surrounding areas, but the trip from South to North will take at least seven days, including delivery time.

I also recommend that localities need to arrange sampling points for testing and returning test results at gateways of provinces and cities, facilitating drivers and avoiding congestion at quarantine checkpoints. Now, if drivers go through localities and their test certificate is expired, they must park their car, and then rent a car to take the test and wait for the result, which increases costs for businesses.

What suggestions do you have to avoid breaking the goods circulation chain, besides the proposal to extend the time frame for Covid-19 test results?

Regarding the inspection and testing for drivers, I suggest that if a vehicle goes through many localities, it should be checked at one, or at most two stations, to optimize the circulation time, avoiding contact. To do this, the QR code needs to show its specific route and station that the vehicle was checked.

According to regulations, after going through a pandemic area, drivers must quarantine for seven, 14, or 21 days (depending on the locality) after returning. This will lead to a shortage of drivers.

Therefore, I suggest no medical isolation for drivers. Simultaneously, localities or transport units need to arrange concentrated accommodation for drivers at the parking lots to control and limit drivers’ contact when returning from pandemic areas.

In the long term, what does the Vietnam Automobile Transport Association suggest to support transport businesses that are facing a lot of difficulties, sir?

According to incomplete statistics, there are about 1.3-1.5 million car drivers across the country. In which, there are more than 400,000 drivers for transporting passengers (fixed-route passenger cars, buses, taxis, contract vehicles, and tourist transport vehicles) and more than one million drivers transporting all kinds of goods. These are the subjects at high risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19 in the community.

The Vietnam Automobile Transport Association suggests that the central and local Steering Committee for Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control should pay attention to and prioritize Covid-19 vaccines for drivers and service staff on cars in the provinces and cities as soon as possible.

Moreover, the Vietnam Automobile Transport Association proposed that transport enterprises should be exempt from road maintenance until the end of December 2020, reduce 50% of vehicle registration fees. The auto inspection period will be increased, the first cycle is 24 months, and the next cycle is 12 months. There will be no charge for parking or picking up guests at the airport, train station or port.

Provincial People's Committees need to reduce 50% of registration fees for newly registered vehicles for transport business. The application period will be until December 31, 2021.

Thank you, sir!

By Xuan Thao (recorded)/ Ha Thanh