Home » Maritime » New surcharges to jack up shipping costs, say forwarders

FREIGHT forwarders are warning of higher logistics costs unless government can prevent some international carriers from implementing a host of new surcharges both for import and export shipments.

These include the container imbalance surcharge, container seal fee, detention charges on cancelled booking, container cleaning and washing charges, import cleaning charge, charges on lost equipment interchange report, additional bill of lading copies charge, seawaybill fee, late payment fee, telex release fee, late shipping instruction fee, amendment fee and container insurance charge (click here for table of surcharges).

Some carriers have, for instance, implemented a container imbalance charge/surcharge of US$50 for a 20-footer and $100 for a 40-footer for all inbound shipments from Asia except Japan to the Philippines beginning February 1.

The same surcharge will apply for shipments from Japan effective March 1.

“Such surcharges are pass-on cost and will really increase the cost of shipping cargoes… we can do nothing about them (since we are only) an intermediary service provider,” Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) president Nelson Mendoza told PortCalls, noting that the surcharges, which he described as “unmitigated and unwarranted”, will be shouldered by shippers and eventually by the consuming public.

He added the charges would directly impact the competitiveness of the country’s export products.

Members of the Association of International Shipping Lines, on the other hand, said the surcharges were determined by their principals.

“It is up for government to settle this. We have forwarded a letter to the Port Users Confederation (PUC) asking for assistance against the fees and to elevate the matter to the Philippine Exporters Confederation, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” Mendoza said.

PUC is the umbrella organization of all shipping associations in the country, including PISFA.

The Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) – an attached agency of the DTI formed to protect the interest of shippers – said it was powerless to act on the surcharges.

PSB admitted it held no oversight powers over carriers so it could not enforce the “public hearing first before implementation” policy.

The DTI earlier planned on forming a team to overlook operations of international shipping lines in the country but the idea has since been shelved.

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