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Fifth annual meeting of the ASIAN Shippers Council
14th August 2009
The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Asian Shippers’ Council (ASC) was held in Colombo from 13th to 14th August 2009, hosted by the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council. Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa MP, Minister of Ports & Aviation graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Mr. John Lu, Chairman, ASC, presided over the meeting attended by Members of the five ASC regions – namely Greater China, North East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia and Oceania. European Shippers’ Council, Freight Transportation Association (British Shippers’ Council) and South African Shippers’ Council attended the meeting as Observers.
Meeting having re-elected Mr. John Lu as Chairman unanimously.
Over the past year, Asia has been slapped with more surcharges than anywhere else in the world.
- ASC strongly renounces the use of so called Zero Freight application as the cost is recovered under a plethora of surcharges.
- In a world caught in recession where shippers are finding volumes declining, shipping tonnage piling up and container space in excess, carriers are still finding it reasonable to charge a peak season surcharge which questions the very logic of market driven prices.
- ASC denounces TSA’s call for united actions of its members for rate increases, as well as carriers creating artificial space shortages through manipulation of capacity. These actions are disruptive to the proper functioning of the market.
- ASC continues to call for all-in freight rates, including THC, surcharges and other charges.
- ASC congratulates the authorities for substantial decrease in piracy in the Malacca straits due to co-ordinated actions of Governments.
- ASC calls upon the world bodies and Governments to further step up efforts to secure the Gulf of Aden from all forms of piracy.
- In its final analysis ASC believes, it is the development in and around the piracy hit areas, which will determine the way forward in its eradication.
Maritime Regulatory reforms
- ASC calls upon the Governments in the Asian region to pursue regulatory reforms to assist the Shippers of the region a fair, reasonable and fully transparent trading environment.
- ASC congratulates the Governments of China and India for having moved forward to introduce competition regulations, which should be applied in full to the liner shipping sector.
- ASC fully supports the Indian Shippers justification that conferences, consortia or such groupings do not any more qualify for exemptions from competition laws, which is in line with the recent EU led abolition of liner conference exemption.
- ASC endorses use of non- rate making liner shipping agreements, which do not significantly reduce, limits or remove competition from any trade or group of trade lanes. In this respect ASC believes that the APEC members should align their approach to the regulation of non-rate making agreements with the regulatory approach adopted by the EU.
- In its present form the Rotterdam Rules do not provide cargo owners with adequate protection. There are serious implications for Asian shippers and at this stage ASC cannot recommend support for the Rotterdam Rules.
- ASC supports the initiatives like IATA’s E-Freight project that would enhance use of technology for paperless exchange of information assisting in the green dream of the world.
The ASC would like to thank the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council for hosting the 5th Annual meeting in Colombo and the excellent arrangements made during the meeting. The delegates to the meeting thank the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council for the hospitality and other cultural experiences which was extended to them.
14th August 2009,
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