Shippers Voice Sulphur Surcharge Concerns


The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has expressed its disapproval at the mechanism of surcharges that shipping liners have launched to cover the higher rate of lower sulphur fuel.

Manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers have all voiced their concerns through the organization, calling for dialogue with container liners to find the best mechanism to share the costs.  

The British International Freight Association, the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, has also criticised the move.

ESC stated in an announcement that carriers have imposed the surcharges “unilaterally without any negotiation with shippers and ignore a market approach to the global problem”.

A new bunker adjustment factor recently launched by Maersk has aimed to cover additional costs that will arise from the upcoming global sulphur regulations.

MSC and CMA CGM have also announced plans that follow the same direction, however, the ESC has found it not be “an ideal cooperation scenario”.

To learn more about heavy fuel in shipping, read a Port Technology technical paper

ESC is monitoring, through its National Councils, all current actions related to bunker surcharges and their consequences in the operational field.

It has encouraged shipping liners to negotiate all freight costs with shippers to come to an agreement satisfying both sides.

ESC added: “Within the new commercial framework of logistics stakeholders, the imposition of bunker surcharges restrains cooperation and lacks transparency.

“What is most important, it decreases potential innovative solutions and results in a low acceptance by shippers. 

“However, ESC believes that a dialogue is indispensable in reaching a mutually satisfying agreement.”

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