Unfair Charge

April 19, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters Thursday called for government intervention to prevent shipping lines imposing additional charges that were making exports uncompetitive and imports more expensive. Big buyers in the US negotiate freight rates with shipping lines for large volumes of cargo from different regions, such as south Asia where they might have several factories, on an annual basis. This enables them to get bulk discounts. Exporters say big shipping lines acting as a cartel increased the Terminal Handling Charge (THC) for moving containers in Colombo port to 155 dollars for a 20-foot box in January, from 115 dollars previously.

Exporters are asking the government to set up the long-promised regulator for shipping.

In other countries regulators exist to control unfair trade practices, Jayanath Perera, chairman of the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council, told a news conference.

”Exporters of tea and garments are the worst affected. They are becoming uncompetitive and their profit margins affected.”

Noel Priyatillake, chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, said they called the news conference to publicise their inability to get the THC incorporated in the fre