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Forwarders are considering reporting air cargo handlers to competition authorities for what they claim may be opportunistic, and possibly co-ordinated, surcharges.
UK forwarder association BIFA has urged handlers to explain and justify their surcharges.
“BIFA members are now faced with the task of explaining the surcharges to their customers, which are also struggling, without understanding or necessarily agreeing with the rationale behind them,” said director general Robert Keen.
“They deserve a full explanation of why and how the surcharges were decided upon, and evidence that ground handlers are not just using opportunities presented by the difficulties to increase charges for services already provided.”
He also questioned handlers’ last month joint statement about their “imminent collapse”.
He said their announcements were “remarkably similar in content and value”, and BIFA was “left wondering whether the proposed surcharges might be of interest to the relevant competition authorities”.
He argued: “Every participant in international supply chains is suffering from the same financial and operational issues ground handlers face, as they attempt to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.
“Circumstances like shelter-in-place regulations are causing strain on all companies in those supply chains, which are all having to implement painful measures to cope with the pandemic, with a huge financial impact on their businesses.”