BIFA backs call for end to shipping line surcharges

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“Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges and we have been challenging their legitimacy on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years,” said director general Robert Keen.

“We welcome the resolution passed by the Global Shippers’ Forum to work towards the end of these surcharges within five years.”

Keen is chairman of the Multimodal Transport Institute within FIATA, and this has been focusing on surcharges for several years.

“Our members have become used to shipping lines adding peak season, fuel and currency surcharges, but 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?”

Shippers can also be asked to pay surcharges when there is port congestion caused by labour unrest or bad weather, or haulage surcharges when there is a shortage of HGV drivers.

“Why are our members – and ultimately their customers, the shippers – being asked to pay extra for services which the port should provide as part of the contract?” Mr Keen asked.

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