More accusations of profiteers fly against carriers as customer relationships deteriorate

Carriers are accused of “messing up” newly signed contracts to tackle more lucrative premium business.

The charging star has seen evidence that some carriers refuse to honor the MQCs of new contracts with shippers, forcing them to ship a percentage of their contracted volumes at very high rates, plus premium charges and surcharges.

Indeed, a straw poll of LinkedIn Contacts from the shipper and NVOCC this morning revealed that carrier-customer relationships have deteriorated significantly over the past two weeks.

A UK-based NVOCC, which also has offices in the US, said carriers are now “dictating the market” from Asia and “arbitrarily deciding what goes on the shelves.”

He added: “Despite the contracts in place, we are now at a stage where we are asking the shipping company what they would like to charge for shipping the box.”

Another said he “no longer felt like a customer, more like something on the bottom of a shoe.”

And the theme of the “poor relation” often comes up in the responses. The trade manager of a UK-based global freight forwarder said: “We are getting a few boxes released under tariffs by begging and pleading.”

Meanwhile, this week’s Freightos Baltic Index FBX reading for Asia to Northern Europe was virtually unchanged at $ 11,090 per 40 feet, while Mediterranean spot rates were up 4 % to $ 11,080.

On the trans-Pacific, the US west coast component jumped 8% to $ 6,581 per 40 feet, while east coast fares were flat at $ 8,836. Transatlantic fares from Northern Europe to the US east coast rose another 3%, to $ 5,193 per 40 feet, after climbing 140% in three months.

However, in addition to these record freight rates, carriers are poking shippers for charges of up to $ 5,000 per box to secure equipment and space on ships.

Northern European importers are suffering from a disruption in the supply chain and skyrocketing shipping costs, but, arguably, US retailers are facing a more serious crisis. Importers face similar supply chain issues, but made worse by huge consumer demand.

According to the latest report from Blue Alpha Capital, US imports in May in the top ten box ports increased by 52% compared to the previous year, but a more representative increase of 26% compared to the pre-pandemic period 2019. .

“We need an import slowdown to give everyone time to breathe,” said Jon Monroe of US-based Jon Monroe Consultancy. “Everyone talks about high season, but to have a peak we have to have a valley. What we have here is a long push.

Following the announcement this week by America’s largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, to charter its own vessel to shuttle between Asia and the U.S. West Coast, Mr. Monroe has speculated that other retailer associations might consider following his example.

“The rates are up, the service is down,” the consultant said, “there are a lot of angry, frustrated shippers as they continue to pay high rates despite having contracts that are not executed “.

Joseph P. Harris