Japan Shippers’ Council to shut down
The Japan Shippers' Council will be shuttered at the end of year as its board of directors sees the end of carrier conferences in Europe as negating its purpose, Lloyd's List reported Friday.
An official with JSC said that developments in the competitive landscape of ocean shipping between Japan and Europe (where the now-disbanded Far East Freight Conference once ruled), coupled with a crackdown by the Japanese government on air freight cartels, made the organization redundant.
The JSC had often been at odds with other shippers' councils in Asia over whether carrier conferences should be permitted. Every other council in the region celebrated the EU's decision to ban conferences for carriers operating in and out of European ports. But councils in Asia are fighting conferences that still exist on intra-Asia trade, as well as trade between Asia and South America.
“There are quite many important things that shippers’ councils need to take care of, in addition to negotiation with liner conferences on freight and charges,” Sunny Ho, executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, told American Shipper.
He mentioned cargo security issues, such as the U.S. 100 percent scanning requirement and 10+2 information requirements, and the European Union’s 24-hour manifest requirements. Ho also said shippers’ councils would continue fighting liner block exemptions in Asia, as well as reform on liner liability regimes.
In addition, other councils in Asia are pushing for establishment of an assessment system for freight forwarders, liners, terminals, calling it a Cargo 2000-type project for the measurement of vessel delays and cargo delivery delays.
Lastly, Ho said the abolishment of conferences in Europe doesn’t mean discussion agreements in other regions should be ignored by shippers’ group.
“I don’t think organizations like (the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement) should be given the right to discuss freight trends, proposal rate increase, etc.,” he said. “Despite (the fact that) FEFC ceased to function, carriers are still fixing rates and charges. There are too many things that shippers' councils have to deal with. Administrations need to heed from shippers, and shippers’ councils could serve as effective channels.”
Attempts on Monday to reach representatives of the JSC and the Asian Shippers’ Council were unsuccessful.