ESC expresses its disappointment with the Block Exemption Regulation (BER) for vessel sharing agreements (VSA) published recently by the Hong Kong competition authority. The regulation seems to be the same as the European one in a sense that it clearly favours carriers’ interests. It has even a broader scope than the European legislation. (more…)
This year has seen a lot of changes in the maritime sector that have had a negative impact on shippers. ESC has been working with the maritime research and consulting organization Drewry to conduct a satisfaction survey in container transport. Performance quality of carrier services and how it can be improved was one of the important questions. One part of our cooperation with Drewry is to distribute a couple of articles written by Drewry on common shipping topics. This time we would like to share with you a Drewry’s article Exporters, importers must manage risk of higher freight costs and fewer carrier options. (more…)
ESC welcomes the closer collaboration between Hong Kong and ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. A free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN should be signed in November 2017. ESC has through its network in Asia and the Asian Shippers’ Alliance lobbied for this FTA. Shippers’ councils from Macao and Thailand are presently meeting in Bangkok to support the trade negotiations.
The FTA will allow Hong Kong shippers to enjoy reduced export tariffs to ASEAN countries, while ASEAN shippers in turn will be able to buy a lot of material and products at a lower price. According to the WTO rules, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should cover “substantially all trade”. (more…)
Supply chains during the first months after Brexit day are predicted to become unreliable. If the UK government does not manage to have a deal with the EU, it may affect the production and the stock of goods. This was stated by James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the UK Freight Transport Association (FTA), a member the European Shippers’ Council. Giving an interview to Politico, he stressed that FTA is advising businesses “to make sure they are fully stocked up” for this period.
Businesses have been calling for clarity on how a new customs system will look like after the UK leaving the customs union, as the UK indicated they are planning to do so eventually. In August, the UK government published a Brexit negotiating position paper on provisional customs arrangements with the EU. (more…)
The European Commission has published its ‘Mobility Package’ at the end of May 2017 which aims to help the sector to remain competitive in what is called ‘a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitalisation.’ According to the Commission, the proposals will improve the functioning of the road haulage market and help improve workers’ social and employment conditions. This will be done by stepping up enforcement, fighting illicit employment practices, cutting the administrative burden for companies and bringing more clarity to existing rules, for instance on cabotage and posting of workers.
The transport sector has received the proposals with mixed responses.
As a result of a landslide in Germany in mid-August, the railway line between Karlsruhe and Basel has been closed. As the line is an important north-south corridor carrying containers between the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the closure has been causing a lot of disruption to the supply chains using this route. Shippers have been faced with a lot of delays, cost increase for alternative modes of transport including road and inland shipping, and uncertainty and a lack of communication from the operators active on this route. Moreover, the availability of alternative routes has been quite limited due to the maintenance works on other parts of the rail network.
As announced previously in several publications, ESC called for the meeting with the relevant European authorities, DG Competition, to discuss the container capacity crunch, the connection of this crunch with the Alliances and their impact on competition. This meeting took place on 30th June 2017.
ESC explained the effects of the capacity crunch based on the report of the ESC Observatory exercise. Indeed, a significant number of shippers reported in summary the following: breached contracts, suggestions to overbook, delayed sailings, a lack of preparations by the Alliances, absence of contingency plans, and last but not least, some prices doubled temporarily. (more…)