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Lines axe low-sulphur surcharges

[ September 8, 2020   //   ]

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed recent announcements by some container shipping lines that they will discontinue low sulphur fuel surcharges. BIFA says it has long challenged their legitimacy. It accused the carriers of profiteering when they announced in 2018, almost in unison, that they would be introducing the surcharges significantly in advance of the IMO 2020 regulation which took effect on 1 January 2020.
BIFA director general, Robert Keen, commented: “Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges of whatever nature, and we are hoping that other lines will follow suit and also stop their low sulphur surcharges, as well as reconsider their policies in regards to applying surcharges for anything from equipment imbalance to port congestion.
“Over the last few years, the number of surcharges and fees has continued to grow – often with no real explanation or justification.”
Less welcome however is the news that one line is introducing a merchant haulage surcharge, whilst another is adding a container compliance charge.
Forwarders do all they can to minimise the effects of surcharges but at least some costs need to be passed on to the customers “and there is sometimes an unfair perception that our members are to blame,” Keen adds. “If a shipper enters a contract to buy goods they should know exactly what they are paying and that price should not change.”
Some surcharges should already be consolidated within freight rates, with any required fluctuation being managed against that figure, he said.

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