Hong Kong shippers protest $125 documentation fee
Hong Kong shippers are protesting a $125 documentation fee that some liner carriers and freight forwarders have either imposed or plan to start charging soon.
The fee represents a $10 increase over the previous documentation fee of $115.
The Hong Kong Shippers’ Council said the increase is “totally without justification and is detrimental to the competitiveness of the Hong Kong port.” According to the council, the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association has not endorsed the increase and said it’s up to the individual lines.
“Many shipping lines have moved substantial parts of their documentation departments to mainland China to lower costs,” said Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, in a statement today. “There is therefore no reason for them to drive the costs in Hong Kong higher.”
The council said that even with a conservative figure of 10 million bills of lading issued and received a year, the $10 increase will cost shippers HK$100 million.
“Hong Kong shippers are already paying an extra $25 per bill of lading for every shipment to the U.S. for the advanced manifest system imposed by U.S. Customs,” Lin said. “This is in addition to the documentation fee.”
The council pointed out that the documentation fee increase is a contradiction to the shipping industry’s general shift to electronic document processing, which should lower documentation costs.
The council urges Hong Kong’s importers and exporters to put pressure on the shipping lines to reduce their documentation costs.