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China to crackdown on excessive port-related charges

China to crackdown on excessive port-related charges
China has pledged to help the shipping sector by reducing port charges that could amount to RMB5.4bn ($846m) of savings each year, and cracked down on four companies found to have flouted rules by charging excessive port fees.

In an effort pushed ahead jointly by several Chinese government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and ministries of finance and transport, the aim is to significantly reduce the burden of port-related charges, and ensure that such fees are charged appropriately.

Liu Pengfei, spokesman for the ministry of transport, was reported saying that the regulation will be implemented from 1 October 2015. And initial estimates pointed to savings of RMB5.4bn a year for the shipping industry by removing excessive port fees, while savings of RMB48m could be reaped by removing overcharged pilotage fees.

The regulation will also seek to remove a bunch of administrative fees that could lead to savings of RMB3m each year.

Meanwhile, four Chinese firms were found to have excessively charged port-related fees, according to NDRC, and actions will be taken to return the excessive charges back to the shipping enterprises.

The four companies were Ningbo Dagang Pilotage, Nantong Youbang Port Services, Taizhou Dingan Ocean Shipping Services, and Dandong Dehai Ship Services.

Ningbo Dagang Pilotage was found to have collected pilotage fees that were 30% higher than the upper limit laid down by national rules, during the period from January 2014 to July 2015.

Nantong Youbang and Taizhou Dingan were found to have unlawfully changed towage charges over several occasions between January 2014 to August 2015.

Dandong Dehai was found to have overcharged its clients for rubbish dumping fees.

Liu added that the authorities will step up inspections and enforce the regulation, and companies that break the rules will be punished in accordance with the law.