The Far Eastern Freight Conference has suspended the UK port congestion charge of $145 per TEU for containers on the westbound trade which it imposed on 1 December.
It said: “FEFC lines have been monitoring the situation in United Kingdom ports to make the 60-day review as previously announced. An improvement in the port congestion situation in the UK has been detected and, in the light of this, lines have decided to suspend the UK port congestion surcharge with immediate effect while keeping the situation under review.”
However, it warned that port congestion continued to be an expensive and inefficient aspect of European maritime activity, in both Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
“The FEFC LInes are very concerned at the current situation and the likelihood of future increased congestion with ever-growing container volumes.”
Peter Quantrill, director general of the British Interntaional Freight Association said: “As we said at the time, congestion surcharges can do nothing to address the issues that the FEFC claims to want to resolve.
“Although BIFA welcomes the decision, we note that the surcharge has been suspended rather than abandoned altogether and that the matter will be kept under review. Nevertheless, we are pleased that FEFC members appear to be listening to their customers on this occasion and hope that no attempt is made to reinstate the UK surcharge.
“BIFA doubts whether the surcharge has had any impact on bringing about improvements to the port congestion situation that has apparently been detected by the FEFC. However, we welcome the fact that the FEFC lines now appear to concede that port congestion is a European-wide problem rather than one unique to the UK.”