Container costs: associations call on EU Commission

28.01.2021 − 

The European Freight Forwarders Association (CLECAT) and European Shippers’ Council (ESC) have urged the European Commission (EU Commission) to take action against international container carriers. Following a joint letter from the two associations, a meeting with the Directorate General for Competition of the EU Commission is expected to take place in the coming weeks. This was announced by CLECAT in a statement on 4 January.

From the perspective of the associations, the market conduct of carriers has been increasingly disrupting supply chains since the fourth quarter. The carriers are accused of interfering in currently valid contracts, confirming current bookings only under unacceptable conditions and unilaterally imposing considerable price increases. In addition to the increase in base tariffs, the volume and amount of surcharges is particularly criticised.

The World Shipping Council (WSC) representing the interests of shipping lines, responded on 14 January. In a statement, the association points that the ships taken out of service in connection with the corona crisis during the second quarter of 2020 were brought back into operation again very quickly.

The accusation that capacities are being kept artificially tight is being countered by the WSC with surveys conducted by the Alphaliner platform indicating that only 2.5% of existing ship capacities were unavailable at the end of 2020.

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