The British International Freight Association has repeated its call for an end to surcharges imposed by shipping lines, following the decision by a number of lines to levy emergency bunker surcharges in response to rising fuel costs.
“Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges of whatever nature and we have been challenging their legitimacy on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years,” said director general Robert Keen.
“In the past, we have seen equipment imbalance surcharges, peak season surcharges and currency surcharges, in addition to fuel surcharges. 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?”
And, he said:“If a shipper enters a contract to buy goods they should know exactly what they are paying and that price should not change. If they use Incoterms they can buy ex works or FOB and control the supply chain. If they let their supplier arrange shipping, they have no control over the charges applied. But in either case, additional surcharges imposed by shipping lines should not be allowed.”