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‘Extraordinarily high’ shipping rates to continue

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The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that it foresees rates remaining at “extraordinarily high” levels.

BIFA said main factors behind the continued high rates include capacity remaining extremely tight, ongoing service delays, and container shortages, as well as punitive surcharges.

In a new report, BIFA members should expect more surcharges to be imposed by the lines, in part to cover higher charter rates, as well as additional port fees, quay rent and demurrage.

BIFA predicts little prospect of additional allocations, and expects the shortage of landside transport will remain, whilst carriers will not accommodate low yield freight.

BIFA adds that there is likely to by ongoing short term changes to schedules and routings; accompanied by service speed reductions and blank sailings.

Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, commented, “There is a suspicion that the container shipping lines and others are cashing in on a crisis in global container shipping, created in no small part by their own actions.

“Over the last few years, we have seen surcharges for fuel, equipment imbalances, the peak season and currency fluctuations.

“Just this week a global port authority has announced an energy transition fee of £5 per laden import container! The number of surcharges and fees continues to grow – often with no real explanation or justification.”

Soaring shipping rates has been a hot topic in industry since the pandemic-driven e-commerce boom: in

“The fundamentals that underpin demand and supply within the container shipping market show no signs of significant changes, which leads us to conclude that there is little chance of there being any improvement in the current situation for many months, or possibly even years.

“That is why we felt it necessary to provide our members with a report that helps them explain the ongoing issues that the freight forwarding industry faces, to a very disgruntled client set.”

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