China, Hong Kong shippers decry damage charges
Shippers in China and Hong Kong said they have become subject this year to unwarranted surcharges for container damage by liner carriers, according to a report Monday by International Freighting Weekly.
The report, based on a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Shippers' Council, said the size and frequency of such surcharges has markedly increased this year, possibly due to a global container shortage that has forced damaged containers into service.
'The situation has definitely worsened in China and Hong Kong,' HKSC Executive Director Sunny Ho told the publication. 'It could be because there are more damaged containers in circulation because of equipment shortages, or that lines have cut back on customer service, which makes it harder to resolve disputes. But shippers shouldn't be forced to repair them if they did not cause the damage.'
Shippers in China and Hong Kong claim that lines are forcing them to pay the surcharges or withholding service, even if the shipper uses a equipment interchange report to show damage existed before it took delivery of the container.
Ho said he has received three times as many complaints about such container damage charges this year compared to previous years.