Home » 3PL/4PL » Surcharges beyond our control, carriers point out

THE removal of surcharges is an issue that can only be decided by principals of international shipping lines. This was the stand taken by local representatives of international carriers at a recent hearing called by the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) to address shippers’ complaints against surcharges, including the container imbalance surcharge (CIS).

The carrier representatives said local offices are not empowered to act on the issue, only the principals.

“The decision on the petition of Philippine shippers and forwarders will have to come from our principals,” the carriers pointed out.

“We have already informed our principals about the concerns of the Philippines and we will wait for a decision from them.”

The PSB hearing was attended by representatives of APL, OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd, Cosco, Zim Lines, SITC, NYK, KMTC, RCL, Evergreen and Wan Hai.

At the same hearing, the Port Users Confederation, Philippine Exporters Confederation and Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) maintained their earlier position against the surcharges.

“The general sentiment among all stakeholders is that we do not want these extra charges,” PISFA president Nelson Mendoza said. “Surcharges such as the CIS only make us uncompetitive (in the world market) and (causes us to) lose money.”

The PSB has long been trying to negotiate with carriers to do away with the surcharges but with no success. Much of the problem stems from the fact that the agency holds no oversight function over the shipping lines.

This time around, the PSB is looking at invoking a provision on competition to force shipping lines to subject any of their rate adjustments to public consultation.

Since February, some carriers have been imposing surcharges including the CIS, 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.

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