Vol. 4 Num 61 Sat. July 26, 2003  

Increase in ocean freight
Shippers' council vents concern

Shippers' Council of Bangladesh has expressed grave concern over the notices issued by different shipping lines announcing increase in ocean freight in the form of GRI (general rate increase) and BAF (bunker adjustment factor) effective from July 1 and August 1, 2003.

In a statement Thursday, Shippers' Council Senior Vice Chairman Arzu Rahman Bhuiya said such increase in ocean freight and BAF would have adverse effect on the country's exports.

He mentioned export market of Bangladesh's export items, especially garments and jute goods, were shrinking due to keen competition and depression after the Iraq War.

These unilateral freight increase notices are against UNCTAD Code of Conduct, which provides for 150 days' notice and prior discussion before GRI, Bhuiyan said.

This, he said, is also "against the decision of the meeting held in the Ministry of Shipping in November 2002 in which IPBC and its member lines were instructed to discuss with all concerned before increasing ocean freight, but no such discussion has been held."

The Shippers' Council leader requested the shipping lines to refrain from giving effect to freight increase notices. He also urged the government to intervene in the matter and resolve the issue at the earliest.