Attention: Shippers and Consignees
ANALYSIS OF SHIPPING LINE CHARGES
There have been complaints extending over many years of excessive charges levied by shipping lines. Pakistan Shippers Council (PSC) had reached the following mutual understanding with Pakistan Ship Agents’ Association (PSAA) in 1998:
“The Shipping Lines whose Bills of Lading clearly stipulate the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) to be paid at destination are only entitled to collect such charges. If the Bill of Lading is clean and there is no such stipulation, the Ship Agents will not ask for Terminal Handling Charges (THC).”
This understanding could not be put in practice because the major container carrying shipping lines were no longer the members of PSAA. It is alleged that the shipping lines continue to charge THC and other charges at ever increasing rates. The shippers and consignees are of the view that all charges should be part of the freight and they must know their total cost before booking any cargo.
One example of the charges considered to be unjustified is the “Pakistan Port Surcharge.” This charge had been introduced about ten years ago due to inordinate berthing delays at Karachi Port. In a circular issued on 16 September 2000 the Director General Ports & Shipping instructed Conference Lines/Shipping Agents not to impose the port surcharge, as it was authorized only when there was congestion at Karachi port. However it is alleged that some shipping lines still continue to charge it.
The National Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee (NTTFC) convened a meeting on 13 October 2004 under the chairmanship of the President, FPCCI to discuss this issue, but no practical conclusions were reached. These issues have again been raised recently at various levels. One obstacle in resolving the issue is a lack of information on the nature and extent of the alleged charges.
In order to develop a clearer picture of the situation, the NTTFC has agreed with UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to survey import/export transactions involving a cross-section of shipping lines, freight forwarders, shippers and consignees, as part of the Trade and Transport Facilitation Project under the Ministry of Commerce.
To carry out this survey the attached “Shipping Line Charges Analysis – Data Collection Form” has been developed. We are requesting your cooperation for collecting the required data by circulating it to your members for identifying important transactions since January 2004 and to record the key information as illustrated in the attached form. Any charges not specified in the form or additional relevant information may also be filled in the space provided for it. The form in Excel format is also available on NTTFC website www.nttfc.org under documents for downloading and filling by the interested parties. The maximum number of transactions may be filled in using as many copies of the form as required and returned to the Executive Secretary, NTTFC, B-2, Federation House, Main Clifton Karachi latest by 25th June 2005 by letter, Fax; 021-582 1814 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All those providing the information are assured of confidentiality of the information provided to NTTFC.
We shall also be collecting information from the shipping agents and freight forwarders regarding their charges. Efforts are also being made to collect similar information from the Shipper’s Councils in other regional countries. On the basis of the collected information a report summarising the data analysis will be prepared to identify any abuse for which corrective action may be taken.
If you have any questions concerning this survey, please contact the NTTFC Secretariat. We count on your cooperation to help achieve an improved understanding of the impact these charges are having on business competitiveness and the national economy and evolving a mechanism for resolving the contentious issues.