BIFA joins calls to end surcharges

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the UK’s main trade association for logistics and freight forwarding companies, has announced that it is supporting international shippers’ calls to end surcharges imposed by shipping companies within five years.

The Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) passed a resolution last month to end the surcharges within five years at its annual meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Surcharges are additional charges that are applied by some shipping lines as well as forwarders to the contracted costs of moving shipping containers around the world. Thee include fuel surcharges, as well as charges for hazardous goods and a currency adjustment factor amongst others, that can significantly increase the costs of sending a container by sea.

“Shippers of goods around the world have had enough of demands made by carriers and forwarders for the payment of charges that are poorly explained or out of proportion for any service provided,” said Chris Welsh, Secretary General of the Global Shippers Forum.

“GSF is looking to end the imposition of surcharges on shippers by 2020 through a series of actions that will expose the scale and injustice of the practice to world trade bodies and if necessary publicise the worst examples notified to us.”

The BIFA Director General Robert Keen said that members have become accustomed to shipping lines adding these surcharges.

“Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges and we have been challenging their legitimacy on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years,” said Keen.

“We welcome the resolution passed by the Global Shippers’ Forum to work towards the end of these surcharges within five years.”