ASIAN SHIPPERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER COST OF U.S. SECURITY RULES
The Asian Shippers Group, a cooperative body between national shippers’ councils in Asia, has expressed concerns over the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and Container Security Initiative of the US Customs, citing cost and operational issues.
“While members support the U.S. initiatives against terrorism, available information is sketchy,” the Asian Shippers Group said in a statement. “Members agreed to work closely with their respective governments to ensure a cost and operational efficient system be adopted and coordinated through the Asian Shippers Group.”
The group, which includes the shippers councils of Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries, said that one option related to maritime security might be the Regulated Agents Regime adopted in the airfreight industry.
At a meeting in Shanghai on June 17-19, the shipper group also discussed the question of terminal handling charges with representatives of ocean carriers. This was the first meeting between the Asian Shipper Group and carrier representatives.
“The remarkable event was the International Shipping & Trade Forum on THC, inviting carriers’ representatives headed by Kenichi Kuroya, chairman of Intra Asia Discussion Agreement,” the Asian shipper group said.
The Asian Shippers Group said that it would prefer resolving problems with ocean carriers through dialogue, and would request the intervention of the governments as a last resort.
The shipper group opposes what it regards as the imposition of the present practice of terminal handling charges by carriers. The Asian shipper body wants the terminal handling charges to be rolled back into the ocean freight, or paid by the party that pays the ocean freight. At present, Asian F.O.B. exporters must pay the terminal charge from the Asian port, even when a U.S. or European importers is responsible for organizing the ocean transport.
Furthermore, the Asian Shippers Group members expressed their dissatisfaction over the lack of transparency of the port charge and objected to “carriers using THCs as means to raise general revenue.”
The Asian Shippers Group reported that the chairman of Intra Asia Discussion Agreement would continue the dialogue with it.
The shipper group will work on a definition of the components of the terminal handling charge and local cost through consultation and dialogue with carriers. It aims to define a “new Asian standard” for terminal handling charges that could develop later into a global standard, it said.
Members of the Asian Shippers Group will also participate in the Tripartite Shippers’ Meeting — the annual gathering of shippers’ organizations from North America, Europe and Asia — in New Orleans in September 2002.