CI shipper sentiment survey reflects GSF issues

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The recent Containerisation International (CI) shipper sentiment survey confirms a number of key policy approaches developed by the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF).

79 per cent of shipper respondents supported a black list for shippers that mis-declare cargo, including cargo weights, suggesting strong endorsement for GSF’s maritime safety campaign to tighten up on accurate cargo and weight declarations. 60% of shippers surveyed also indicated they could comply with new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) calculated weight regulations to be introduced from July 2016.

GSF Secretary General Chris Welsh said:

 “The calculated weight method proposed by GSF in the detailed IMO negotiations provides a practical and effective solution for quality conscious shippers to be able to comply with the new regulations while at the same time tackling legitimate safety concerns relating to mis-declared container weights. It is very encouraging that nearly 80% of shippers responding to the CI survey believe action should be taken against those that flout the rules.”

The new regulations provide two options: verifying the gross mass weight by weighing a fully laden container (option 1) or using a calculated weight method to verify the gross mass weight of the goods, packing and securing materials and tare weight of the container (method 2).

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The GSF has said that the compromise calculated weight option accepted by IMO should enable regular shippers of homogenous goods to use existing quality management systems to comply with the new rules under certification schemes authorized by competent national maritime enforcement agencies.

Mr Welsh added:

“The compromise proposals will assist enforcement by regulators and compliance for all stakeholders in the maritime supply chain. The GSF is highly appreciative of the pragmatic approach adopted by IMO officials, member state delegations and our supply chain NGO stakeholder partners in supporting the compromise solution which will ease implementation and avoid delays in the maritime supply chain.”

The proposed amendment to SOLAS, Chapter VI is to be approved at the 94th IMO Maritime Safety Committee taking place in London from 17-21st November 2014.

The CI survey results also strongly endorses GSF’s approach to alliances. Shippers are clearly worried about concentration in the container shipping industry, with 70% of respondents expressing concern about the prospect of reduced competition with fewer global carriers.

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However, shippers appreciate that a balance needs to be struck, alliances and VSA’s are preferable to greater market consolidation through, for example, merger and acquisition, but there are legitimate concerns over market dominance, the maintenance of effective competition and the pass through of benefits to customers in terms of improved services and reduced costs. 52% of those surveyed felt that the global alliances had not led to improved service quality.

The GSF has announced that is delighted that the world’s main regulators: the EU, the US FMC and China have agreed in principle at the recent European Maritime Law Organisation conference to hold a further “summit” to consider alliances.

Chris Welsh concluded:

“It’s clear from the survey responses that the alliances have to place greater focus on service quality to demonstrate the benefits of such cooperation to customers. They therefore need to be more open and transparent about their arrangements. That means giving waivers to allow regulators to share information provided by carriers in their competition and regulatory assessments. That will also give customers greater confidence in alliances and that all the information is on the table to allow effective monitoring of mega alliances with market shares of 30 per cent plus.”

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I'm a Brazilian journalist based in West Midlands. In Brazil, I have worked with International Trade and Logistics publications. Now in the UK, I keep writing and I dedicate myself to a new project : Midlands Trade - a blog focused on business in Europe and Brazil. It's also supporting small businesses throughout the #MeetTheBusiness.

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