Freight News, Sea, Forwarding

BIFA sees bleak new world for seafreight

[ July 28, 2021   //   ]

BIFA says it sees no change in container shipping fundamentals for months possibly years in a new report for its members. It warns them to expect more surcharges to be imposed by the lines, additional port fees, quay rent and demurrage charges.

The trade association has been monitoring conditions in the global market for some time, liaising with international organisations in order to compare market conditions around the world.

Director general Robert Keen, says: “BIFA has been challenging the legitimacy of arbitrary surcharges on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years. There is a suspicion that the container shippping lines and others are cashing in on a crisis in global container shipping, created in no small part by their own actions.”

He added: “Over the last few years, we have seen surcharges for fuel, equipment imbalances, the peak season and currency fluctuations. Just this week a global port authority has announced an energy transition fee of £5 per laden import container. The number of surcharges and fees continues to grow – often with no real explanation or justification.”

BIFA predicts little prospect of additional shipping capacity and expects the shortage of landside transport to remain, whilst carriers will refuse to carry low-yield freight.

There are also likely to be ongoing short tern changes to schedules and routings; service speed reductions and blank sailings.

Robert Keen concludes: “The fundamentals that underpin demand and supply within the container shipping market show no signs of significant changes, which leads us to conclude that there is little chance of there being any improvement in the current situation for many months, or possibly even years.

“That is why we felt it necessary to provide our members with a report that helps them explain the ongoing issues that the freight forwarding industry faces, to a very disgruntled client set.”