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FIATA, the international trade association that represents the world’s freight forwarders and logistics service providers, says it is time for the world’s container shipping lines to provide greater clarity on the ever increasing variety of surcharges that they apply.

Robert Keen, chairman of FIATA’s Multimodal Transport Institute, says that forwarders are accustomed to currency and fuel surcharges, but need more transparency for other surcharges, often with questionable names and purposes, that are charged to freight forwarders.

Keen said, “In the past, we have seen Administration Fees, Peak Season Surcharges, or ISPS-add on surcharges. Of late, we have had examples of container cleaning fees and container sealing fees, without any evidence of the expense actually being incurred.”

“There have also been recent examples of port congestion surcharges caused by labour unrest; and haulage surcharges resulting from HGV driver shortages, which is difficult to understand as there is no explanation and little justification for an additional charge for a service that the container line is finding difficult to provide.

Keen, who is also Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) concludes: “It is time for freight forwarders to stop accepting at face value opaque and unjustified surcharges.”

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