Skyrocketing freight rates once again under regulatory scrutiny

by | 9 Sep 2021 | International News

Carriers’ inordinately high freight rates once again topped the agenda at the fifth biennial meeting of the Global Regulatory Summit convened to discuss competition issues related to the shipping industry.

Federal Maritime Commission chairman Daniel B Maffei joined his colleagues from the European Union and the People’s Republic of China at the virtual meeting which was hosted by the European Commission earlier this week.

Three broad agenda items were discussed. First, sectoral developments since the start of the Covid pandemic, including an analysis of supply and demand and an identification of bottlenecks in the ocean-linked supply chain and the causes of service disruptions. Second, actions undertaken so far by relevant jurisdictions and authorities in response and their results.  Finally, the way forward and possible actions to increase resilience and smooth operations in the sector.

“The performance of ocean carriers in meeting historic demand for their services and the unusually high costs to move ocean containers are of interest and concern to regulators, legislators, and the public globally,” said Maffei.  “Today’s session provided key competition authorities responsible for the oversight of the container shipping industry the opportunity to share information about what their respective monitoring and enforcement regimes are observing in the marketplace, and compare conclusions about carrier behaviour.”

The next meeting will be held in Beijing in 2023.

The first was held in December 2013 and hosted by the FMC.  Subsequent meetings were held in Belgium in 2015, China in 2017, and the United States in 2019.