Freight Charge

June 28, 2014 (LBO) – A Sri Lanka government regulation against a controversial fee charged from shippers who had not contracted for freight in Asian and African countries was being studied by other affected countries, an official said. Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council, representing the country’s exporters and importers had long protested a so-called terminal handling fee charged by shipping lines even when freight was not contracted by them.

Sri Lanka’s government legislated against the move after several years of negotiations between shippers and shipping lines failed to bring any changes.

Sean Van Dort, newly elected Chairman of Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council said
“more ethical service providers” were now adhering to the new regulations, while some were trying to avoid them.

Van Dort said the government move was not a state intervention against the market but a carefully considered move to balance the bargaining power where negotiations had failed to end an unfair practice, that was not practiced in more developed markets.

Van Dort said the Sri Lankan body had made representations at a Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) in Montreal in 2008 and found that no such charges were levied in the US and Europe by shipping lines.