Naming and Shaming the Worst Unjustified Freight Surcharges
Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) secretary general Chris Welsh has announced his organisation aims to stamp out shipping surcharges within five years.
“Shippers of goods around the world have had enough of demands made by carriers and forwarders for the payment of charges that are poorly explained or out of proportion for any service provided,” said Mr Welsh.
“Surcharges on a shipment can exceed the contracted cost of transport and are disrupting efficient world trade. At times of subdued economic growth this is damaging to world trade and causing distortions in local markets.
“GSF is looking to end the imposition of surcharges on shippers by 2020 through a series of actions that will expose the scale and injustice of the practice to world trade bodies and if necessary publicise the worst examples notified to us.”
Among specific actions to be taken by the GSF include:
- making the World Trade Organisation and United Nations bodies aware of the scale and impact of the practice;
- seeking amendment to the INCOTERMS compiled by the International Chamber of Commerce to make clear who is responsible for the settlement of certain costs currently recovered through surcharges;
- “naming and shaming” the worst examples of opaque and unjustified surcharges.
Examples of surcharges amounting to US$250 per container have apparently been given by GSF members on Asia- Europe trade routes, with carriers and forwarders said to “often threaten to not transport containers” if their surcharges have not been paid.
New Zealand Shippers’ Council chairperson Mike Knowles noted that his members had not found any issue with verified gross mass-related shipping surcharges being applied locally but would be “monitoring the situation closely”.
“We do not support the charging of any unwarranted fees,” he told the Shipping Gazette™.
“Across our membership it is common practise to negotiate contracts inclusive of all charges so any issues around additional fees and surcharges are dealt with upfront.”
Containerlines approached for comment on the GSF initiative declined the opportunity.
Source: NZ Shipping Gazette
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