jakarta container terminal

Port of Jakarta. Photo: By Creativa Images / Shutterstock

Skyrocketing Containership Rates Draw EU Scrutiny

Bloomberg
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July 10, 2021

By Aoife White (Bloomberg) Container shipping’s surging rates are getting scrutiny by the European Union, adding to a U.S. call for more competition among shipping alliances.

The European Commission “is closely monitoring the shipping industry” and is gathering information to “identify any scope for intervention that can facilitate return to normal operations,” Arianna Podesta, a spokeswoman for the EU’s antitrust arm, said in an email.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to sign a new executive order Friday that will, among other things, ask U.S. regulators to do more to promote competition in ocean shipping, where shipping alliances control more than 80% of the market. Specifically, the order will encourage the Federal Maritime Commission to enforce against shippers overcharging American exporters, with a focus on the costly fees charged for freight sitting waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

The cost to ship a boxload of goods to the U.S. from China edged close to $10,000, up 5% from the previous week and 229% higher than a year ago, according to the Drewry World Container Index published Thursday.

The EU has been talking to “representatives of liner companies, ports operators, carriers, shippers and freight forwarders to fully understand the current circumstances,” Podesta said.

By Aoife White © 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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