Digital Edition

Nov.10, 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 79

FORWARDERS PRESS FOR CLARITY ON LINER SURCHARGES FIATA, THE INTERNATIONAL trade association that represents the world's freight forwarders and logistics service providers, is calling on con- tainer shipping lines to provide greater clarity on the ever-increasing variety of surcharges they apply. Robert Keen, chairman of FIATA's Mul- timodal Transport Institute, said in a statement that forwarders were accustomed to currency and fuel surcharges, but needed more transpar- ency for many of the other surcharges, "often with questionable names and purposes," levied on forwarders. It's a recurring complaint among for- warders and shippers that have long accused the carriers of using surcharges as revenue streams rather than the cost recovery mechanisms for which they are purportedly imposed. "It is time for freight forwarders to stop accepting at face value opaque and unjustifi ed surcharges," said Keen, who is also director general of the British International Freight Association. The Hong Kong Shippers' Council also takesa dim view of the surcharges levied on shippers using the Kwai Chung container terminals. Willy Lin, chairman of the council, said the port conges- tion surcharge introduced by shipping lines in the intra-Asia trade on Oct. 19 was "unac- ceptable and unjustifi able." The port has been battling heavy congestion since mid-September, with delays in transshipment cargo transfer the main cause. US WEST COAST PORT OUTLOOK GROWS GLOOMIER SHIPPE RS SE E LITTLE sign of an end to the congestion that has wracked the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. On top of ships anchored outside the largest U.S. port complex, unavailable chassis and demurrage charges for containers stuck in limbo, U.S. West Coast labor negotiations look increasingly shaky. Waterfront employers accuse the International Longshore and Ware- house Union of engaging in work slowdowns at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, an accusation the union called a "bold-faced lie." Citing a lack of work at Tacoma, BNSF Railway in early November cut off some intermodal ser- vices from interior locations to the Washington state port. Shippers fear the alleged slowdown will spread to other U.S. West Coast ports. The West Coast inertia comes at the worst possible time for agricultural exporters who are completing their second straight year of record harvests. "As the West Coast ports melt down, terminals closing, ships skipping port calls or rerouting, chassis unavailable, truckers limited by endless lines at gates and unreasonable hours of service restrictions, we see this having very real, very immediate injury to the U.S. econ- omy and U.S. agriculture, our most important export," the Agriculture Transportation Coalition said last week from Washington, D.C.. Shippers don't expect congestion to get better, either, according to a recent survey. Sixty-five percent of slightly more than 100 shippers expect congestion to get worse. Half of those surveyed in late October and early November said they are see- ing their containers sit at the terminal for one to fi ve days, while 33 percent of those surveyed have containers waiting more than 10 days for pickup. Shipper frus- tration is reverberating in Washington D.C., as retail importers pressure the Obama administration to send a federal mediator to help with talks between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents waterfront employers. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission and the U.S. departments of Com- merce and Transportation are aware of the congestion Spotlight 6 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE NOVEMBER 10.2014 Shippers react to LA-LB congestion Has your company been negatively affected by recent congestion at LA-LB Long Beach? Is congestion at the ports getting better or worse? How long are containers sitting in LA-LB terminals?* Will the LA-LB congestion lead you to reroute cargo?** yes 97% no 3% yes 69.9% no 21.4% improving 2% deteriorating 65% staying the same 33% 1-5 days 11.6% 5-10 days 51.5% more than 10 days 33.0% *3.9% had no response **8.7% had no response 6 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE woes, along with the lack of a new labor contract, but haven't said whether they will pull the trigger on sending a mediator, Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, told The Journal of Commerce on Nov. 4.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - Nov.10, 2014