Freight News, Sea

Liner shipping needs fresh thinking, says Global Shippers’ Forum

[ July 23, 2013   //   ]

A lack of innovation in tackling the liner shipping industry’s current problems can be traced to a dogged determination to cling on anti-trust exemptions says the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) in support of the New Zealand Shippers’ Council’s campaign to repeal anti-trust immunity.

The New Zealand Productivity Commission’s draft report published in 2012 noted that New Zealand had fallen behind other OECD governments in terms of logistics performance and that removal of anti-trust immunity guarded against a future degradation of the New Zealand economy against potential future carrier collusion.

While many carriers continue to blame their woes on regulatory reform and EU regulatory reform in particular, and bemoan not being able to discuss rates and market issues with each other in an EU context, they merely perpetuate a mentality that makes them impervious to change and new outlooks, believes the GSF.

GSF secretary general Chris Welsh said: “The New Zealand authorities have carried out a highly professional and thorough review, most notably by the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and the New Zealand Parliament  Select Committee. All have come to the same conclusion, that anti-trust exemptions for the shipping sector are no-longer warranted and hold back economic efficiency and enhanced productivity”.

It argues that everyone trading in the global economy is finding it tough, and the GSF realises that everyone is paying attention to the top and bottom lines to survive. However, the preoccupation with rates and how to get them up rather than a focus on customer needs and wants provides a telling comment on how the industry generally views the customer-the shipper.

Contrary to this almost uniquely supply-side view of the market, the GSF believes the carrier community must place the shipper at the heart of its business strategies. Carrier need to make a break with the past and focus on new solutions centred on customers needs, which only be accomplished through ocean shipping reform, argues the GSF.


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