Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Asian shippers seek urgent reforms to control freight rate spikes

The Asian Shippers’ Council is calling for urgent reforms to maritime regulations in Asia amid what the ASC says are the “incomprehensible” freight rate hikes being imposed by global shipping lines.

At its annual meeting held early last month in Hong Kong, the ASC said that reforms needed to be instituted immediately to regulate the freight rate increases imposed by shipping lines.

“Maritime regulatory reform in Asia has gained added urgency. Pushed to show profits even in this harsh environment, shipping lines are increasingly setting their sights on Asia, the region with the best growth potential. The cartels, while not visible, are active throughout the region. With no maritime regulatory oversight, they can operate with impunity, keeping rates and surcharges at unacceptable levels,” it said it a statement.

“Until now our effort at bringing about reform has run into strong headwinds. Even countries with competition act like Australia and Singapore have seen the need to offer special dispensation to shipping lines,” the council added.

The ASC also expressed support for the recommendation in April by New Zealand officials  to repeal current exemptions for shipping companies from the Commerce Act and to remove antitrust immunity for liner conferences.

“We believe New Zealand’s decision would have far reaching consequences, creating pressure for reform elsewhere in the region,” it said.

The ASC also voiced suspicions that “shipping lines are collectively reducing ship supply to push up freight rates, which is in direct contravention of the European Union anti-trust regulations.”

It cited as an example the proposal made by the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement in September to impose a rate hike of US$800 to US$1,200 per 40-foot-equivalent unit starting mid-October 2012 for all new and renewed contracts.


Photo: thetravelguru

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