Importer replies to Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council on import freight

Monday, 29 February 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Last week in the Daily FT the Shippers’ Council very correctly pointed out the actions of some shipping and freight forwarding companies that act erroneously to earn much more than they should by way of adopting anti-competitive practices as expressed by the shipping council.

As an importer, I have found out that attempts have been made to collect unjust charges from my company as well but our shipping is organised as we follow the norms of transport contracts as pointed out by the Shippers’ Council.

These charges from importers are wide-ranging and include washing charges, which are illegal as per a Government gazette presented in 2014. But as an importer, I feel that the Shippers’ Council has not pointed out that some forwarders and shipping lines are charging $ 75 or Rs. 10,000 for a document called a delivery order. 

I import containers from the Far East (Singapore) and India at current market rates of all-inclusive $ 150 to 200 (sometimes lower) for a 20-foot container to Colombo CY, but the delivery order costs $ 75! Something is wrong and the shipping council must correct this anomaly in the law. 

As far as I am concerned, if a shipper has paid full freight it is the duty of the local agent to hand over cargo when I surrender my BL on a freight prepaid shipment as they are CY as pointed out in the article and I take delivery at the port.

We hope that the new Government will correct this situation and have all-inclusive rates given for imports as it is legally the case with exports. I am talking of the highly absurd delivery order fee which is hurting a lot of small shipments and importers.

We hope that the shipping council and freight forwarding body will help us by getting this sorted out fast as this would have been an oversight when the gazette was released in 2014.

I would like to thank the Lankan Shippers’ Council for bringing this to the attention of the Government and, as pointed out, allowing importers to select forwarders and shipping lines that act in good faith. Otherwise we have to pass all costs to the consumer.

Abeysekara – an importer