The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has stated that it expects freight rates to remain at extraordinarily high levels, with capacity remaining extremely tight, ongoing service delays and container shortages, as well as punitive surcharges for months or even years.
The trade association, which represents UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, has prepared a report on the conditions in the container market in response to its members’ concerns.
Robert Keen, BIFA director general stated: “BIFA has been challenging the legitimacy of arbitrary surcharges on behalf of our members – and their customers – for many years. 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 (US$7) per laden import container! The number of surcharges and fees continues to grow – often with no real explanation or justification.”
In regards to capacity, BIFA predicts little prospect of additional allocations; and expects the shortage of landside transport will remain, whilst carriers will not accommodate low yield freight.
The association added that there are likely to be ongoing short term changes to schedules and routings; accompanied by service speed reductions and blank sailings.
Keen noted: “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.”