Strong peak season volume increases at HKIA tempered by Covid delays
UPDATED 22.10.21 TO INCLUDE HACTL RESPONSE Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Cathay Pacific Cargo have ...
Unscrupulous forwarders in India are taking advantage of “desperate” shippers, using inside information from shipping lines to create a “black market” for spot bookings, it is claimed.
Container shipping’s worst-ever capacity crunch has led to skyrocketing freight rates and a sold-out spot market, said Rakesh Pandit, CEO of Pune-based Conbox Logistics.
He added: “And freight rates aside, we have reached a situation in India where there are no spot bookings available on routes to Oceania, West Africa, and North and South America. We have not even crossed mid-August and shipping-lines are asking to check for bookings in September.
“Shippers that have received the orders are stuck with inventory; they’re either forced to wait for a booking or cancel the orders.
“To make matters worse, black marketing of spot bookings is rampant, thanks to a nexus between the sales teams of shipping lines and few bad apples.”
Mr Pandit claims there are “many” forwarders in India who have “sales and back-office staff of shipping lines on their payrolls”.
He explained: “These forwarders get spot bookings and internal information regarding space in advance, before selling the bookings at a premium on the black market to desperate shippers and forwarders.
“Even staff from the top shipping lines are involved in these malpractices, although officially they deny it. Bookings are re-sold anywhere from from and extra $100 to $3,000 per container.”
Carriers have announced a number of general rate increases and peak season surcharges (PSSs) in recent weeks, leading to freight rates doubling since July. For example, CMA CGM will implement a PSS of $1,500 ex-India to North Europe and the Mediterranean from Sunday.
Mr Pandit said rates to Europe had increased to $5,000 per teu from $3,000-4,000 just last month, while rates to the US had leapt from $4,000 to $8,000 on some routes.
“Even at these rates, bookings are scarce and there is waiting period. Spot rates are being quoted between $10,000 and $13,000 for sailings on 15 August and onward,” he added.