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Press release - Shipping lines must rescind the port congestion surcharge immediately

 20 Oct 2014

Press Statement

Shipping lines must rescind the port congestion surcharge immediately

The Hong Kong Shippers’ Council strongly object Intra-Asia shipping lines’ introduction of Port Congestion Surcharge (the Charge) from 19 October 2014. The Charge, at US$50 per 20’ and US$100 per 40’, will be levied only from shippers importing into and exporting from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong shippers object the Charge because:

1.     Shippers fail to see any justification for the Charge. Shipping lines have never consult shippers, which are shipping lines’ customers, on why such charge should be introduced. Shipping lines also do not provide essential information such as when and under what circumstance that the Charge would be introduced, or cancelled, or the level adjusted. The unilateral action of shipping lines seriously hampers their relationship with their customers and disrupt order in the market;

2.     Shipping lines providing service in the intra-Asia trade have obviously resorted to collective action. By effecting the Charge collectively on the same date and at the same level, their customers i.e. shippers are left without choice. This sort of anti-competition action should not be accepted by nowadays business;

3.     If the Charge is caused by port congestion in Hong Kong, it is necessary to point out that shippers actually suffer substantially from the consequences i.e. schedule delay and skip of sailings already. Shippers’ production schedules and marketing plans would have been seriously disrupted, and failure to deliver goods on time would lead to heavy claims and losses. Shipping lines should compensate their customers for the losses because they are caused by shipping lines’ failure to fulfill their basic service, instead of inflicting further damage to their customers by introducing a heavy charge. Shipping lines should demand their terminal service contractors to resolve the problem quickly.

Hong Kong Shippers’ Council have written to the intra-Asia shipping lines individually and asked them to rescind the Charge.  The Council will also appeal to the SAR Government and particularly the Competition Commission to investigate into this collective pricing action in forcing an unreasonable and unjustifiable charge.  In addition, the Council also calls for establishment of a mechanism of compensating shippers for their losses caused by shipping lines’ failure to provide basic service.


For inquiry:

Mr. Sunny Ho, Executive Director

Tel: 22112332, E-mail: sunnyho@hkshippers.org.hk;

Mr. Ron Chan, Marketing Manager

Tel: 22112333, E-mail: ron@hkshippers.org.hk