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Forwarders see red over shipping surcharge

[ December 15, 2020   //   ]

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says its members are exasperated by the news of  an ‘Emergency Space Surcharge’ by one of the world’s leading container shipping companies.

It will apply from South East India ports to the North Continent, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Red Sea and Latin America.

BIFA director general Robert Keen said: “Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges of whatever nature and, along with other groups, we have been challenging their legitimacy on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years. The line in question says the Emergency Space Surcharge is part of continued efforts to provide customers with reliable and efficient service. BIFA says that the lines are cashing in on a crisis in global container shipping, created in no small part by their own actions.

“Over the last few years, we have seen surcharges for fuel, equipment imbalance, the peak season and currency fluctuations. The number of surcharges and fees continues to grow – often with no real explanation or justification. For instance, what does an extra ‘administration fee’ or ‘container sealing fee’ cover that is not in the standard service offered?”

Forwarders do all they can to minimise the effects of the surcharges but in the end costs need to be passed on to the customers “and there is sometimes an unfair perception that our members are to blame,” Keen adds.

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