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Your Freight Agent May Be Charging Inflated Fees

Reports are emerging of some carriers and other supply chain service providers imposing “exorbitant and unjustified charges” in particularly Asia and Africa following the July 1 enactment of the new verified gross mass (VGM) regulations for packed containers.

Contrastingly, New Zealand Shippers’ Council chairperson Mike Knowles said implementation of the VGM in New Zealand “appears to be running very smoothly”.

“Feedback from New Zealand Shippers’ Council members indicates that, apart from a few minor refinements, they are happy with the implementation and there are no reports of exorbitant fees being charged like has been reported in South East Asia,” he told the Shipping Gazette™.

However, the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) recently issued a statement advising it was investigating various claims in China, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and called for such charges “to be withdrawn immediately”.

“[The GSF’s] expectation is that the overwhelming majority of VGM service providers will act and will only charge for actual third-party services provided to the shipper at reasonable prices that reflect the cost of providing those services,” stated the organisation.

“The new rules merely require the shipper to provide an accurate VGM to the carrier or the terminal operator using the prescribed methods in the IMO rules. Where the shipper undertakes the weighing process himself to determine the VGM and notifies this to the carrier or terminal operator in the agreed manner, there is no justification for any VGM charge to be applied.”

The GSF emphasised that the maritime sector had sought introduction of the new regulations to enhance maritime safety.

“It is a reasonable expectation of shippers that carriers and terminal operators will put in place procedures for acceptance of a VGM. This is no different to arrangements previously in place … except that the shipper must now provide an accurate VGM in compliance with the new rules.

“There is consequently no justification for carriers and terminal operators to apply any charge for a shipper making an accurate VGM declaration.”

The issue is understood to be of particular concern to shippers in developing countries, given they pay 40% to 70% more on average for the international transport of their imports than developed countries, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Maritime Report 2015.

Source: NZ Shipping Gazette

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