The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has written to the UK government asking it to investigate the state of competition in the current container shipping market, the latest in a wave of ship complaints being sent to governments in the around the world during a period of record carrier revenues and the worst reliability of schedules in the history of containerization.
The UK’s leading trade association for freight forwarding and logistics companies says its members are concerned that certain practices undertaken by major container shipping companies, as well as the easements and exemptions granted to them under the competition law, distort free market operations to the detriment of international trade.
In a letter to Transport Minister Robert Courts, BIFA Managing Director Robert Keen expressed the trade association’s concern that, during a time of well-documented chaos in the container shipping industry, the market power is increasingly concentrated, leading to less choice and competition in the market, and distorted market conditions.
Keen said: “BIFA members fully accept that a free market economy is open to all, but are increasingly concerned that the activities of container shipping companies, and the exemptions from the legislation which they benefit, distort the operations of this market for the benefit of the advantages of shipping companies, while adversely and unfairly affecting their customers, in particular freight forwarders and SMEs.
Keen denounced the stranglehold of the three global maritime alliances on world trade.
The potential combined profit forecast of $ 150 billion for 2021 – as predicted by consultants Drewry – could be seen as “blatant profiteering,” Keen suggested.
BIFA joins a growing number of organizations, including CLECAT, FIATA and the Australian Productivity Commission, in calling on governments at the national and national levels to carefully consider the evolution of trade agreements in the container shipping market. to see if they are in violation of competition law.
The Washington DC-based World Shipping Council (WSC), the container shipping lobby group, has made a living over the past year, fending off repeated complaints about price and reliability.
“Supply chain congestion is rampant. Every link in the supply chain, from marine terminals to truck drivers, rail cars and warehouses, is under tremendous pressure. It is unrealistic, inequitable and unproductive to attempt to address these supply chain-wide challenges by regulating only one category of supply chain participants, ocean carriers, ”said WSC Last year.