WTSA sets up export shipper advisory board
The Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement said Thursday it has formed a 16-member advisory panel of export shippers.
The WTSA said the panel was set up to:
' Strengthening long-term shipper-carrier relations.
' Address specific short-term contracting, operational and service issues, many related to the recent global recession.
' Explore best practices in day-to-day interaction such as booking, documentation and demand forecasting.
The panel was announced the same day two U.S. Congressmen introduced a bill that would eliminate antitrust immunity for ocean carrier agreements, including the WTSA.
'Both sides wanted this initiative,' said WTSA Executive Administrator Brian Conrad. 'They felt they needed a forum to sit down, candidly exchange ideas, learn more about each other's businesses, and focus on solutions. This WTSA advisory board has enabled them to do that.'
The panel is an outgrowth of a series of shipper meetings convened by WTSA in the past two years. But there's been a recent groundswell among U.S. shippers — both import and export — to end liner carrier antitrust immunity, culminating in the bill released this week.
WTSA said the advisory board would explore:
' Ways to structure mutual service commitments in contracts.
' More efficient processes to improve equipment availability.
' Improving demand forecasting to help shippers and carriers plan their space and equipment needs throughout the year.
' Better coordination in the timing and communication of rate adjustments to accommodate exporters' forward sales.
The idea is to move beyond venting of anger and toward concrete solutions, WTSA said.
“This board has started an open and frank dialogue that has the potential to create a long-term benefit for the whole shipping community,” said board member Mike Ruder, director of logistics for Calcot Ltd.
WTSA members are APL, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, 'K' Line, NYK Line, OOCL and Yang Ming.