Shippers are being exploited, claims Global Shipper Forum

Shippers are being exploited by some shipping lines, forwarders and terminal operators according to the Global Shipper Forum, who says that shippers are being charged excessive fees for the processing of mandatory container weight verification requirements. The regulations had been introduced for safety reasons but are now being abused through surcharges, claims the GSF.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) rule, which requires shippers to make accurate weight declarations, is not new and shipping lines have long been required to know the gross weight of containers being loaded on board a ship to ensure that ship is safely stowed and remains stable.

 GSF says there is no justification for the fees and surcharges for this supposedly new information, unless the carrier, forwarder or terminal is legitimately providing a third-party service for example in physically weighing the container. The organisation that represents shippers from four continents is campaigning to remove all surcharges by 2020.

Chris Welsh, secretary general for GSF, said: “It is simply not acceptable that shippers’ well-meaning efforts to comply with an important safety regulation are leading to demands for new payments far in excess of the costs of processing that information. 

“The wider shipping community including carriers, forwarders and terminals needs to remember that SOLAS stands for Safety of Life at Sea, not Serial Opportunities for Levying Additional Surcharges”.