European Shippers’ Council disapproves of the mechanism of surcharges


European Shippers’ Council disapproves of the mechanism of surcharges that shipping liners launch to cover the higher rate of lower sulphur fuel. Shippers call for a dialogue with container liners to find the best mechanism to share the costs.

A new bunker adjustment factor launched by Maersk aims at covering additional costs that will arise from the upcoming global sulphur regulations. Carriers impose it unilaterally without any negotiation with shippers and ignore a market approach to the global problem. MSC and CMA CGM have recently announced plans that follow the same direction. This does not set an ideal cooperation scenario.

ESC is monitoring, through its National Councils, all current actions related to bunker surcharges and their consequences in the operational field. ESC encourages shipping liners to negotiate all freight costs with shippers to come to an agreement satisfying both sides.

Within the new commercial framework of logistics stakeholders, the imposition of bunker surcharges restrains cooperation and lacks transparency. What is most important, it decreases potential innovative solutions and results in a low acceptance by shippers.  However, ESC believes that a dialogue is indispensable in reaching a mutually satisfying agreement.