Shippers go to the barricades
Shippers recently found strong words for situation of the shipping market and the lack of mechanisms to resolve it. Denis Choumert, chairman of Global Shippers’ Alliance (GSA) and the European Shippers’ Council, spoke of "immense impairments" and sufferings of "global economies".
Godfried Smit, secretary general of European Shippers’ Council, complained that “many major European ports are jammed, while container ships are waiting for a berth ... and shipping lines are refusing outbound bookings because they want to expedite return of the containers to the Far East”. A major concern are outbound freight rates, which have risen by a factor of five-six.
The same is happening in the Far East, as Toto Dirgantoro, chairman of the Asian Shippers’ Alliance and the Indonesian National Shippers’ Council, pointed out: “Freight rates from the Far East to Europe have increased ten to 15 times on some occasions and three to four times to North America."
Asian shippers also complain that shipping lines have taken advantage of the situation and levy a large number of new charges, "at ridiculously high level".
Resolution of the current situation might be well beyond competition authorities’ jurisdiction. The ESC met with the European Union DG Competition in January 2021. (cd)