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BIFA: Sulphur Surcharge Will Be Extremely Unpopular

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has slammed the recent introduction of the sulphur surcharge by the container shipping industry, describing it as unjustified.

To remind, the world’s largest liner company Maersk Line is planning to introduce a new fuel adjustment surcharge ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap. The surcharge will be introduced on January 1, 2019, and it will be levied separately from the company’s freight rate.

As explained, the new Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) surcharge aims at recovering Maersk Line’s costs of compliance with the global sulphur cap, which is set to increase the company’s fuel bill by USD 2 billion a year.

Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, said rises of such magnitude were unjustified and could be construed as “blatant profiteering by shipping lines determined to exploit the situation.”

BIFA would prefer any necessary increases to be consolidated within freight rates and with any required fluctuation being managed against that figure.

 “BIFA members are now faced with the task of explaining yet another surcharge to their customers, and what the rationale behind it is. The sulphur surcharge is bound to be extremely unpopular,” Keen said.

Earlier this year, leading container shipping companies, Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM, introduced “emergency” bunker surcharges in response to rising fuel costs.

BIFA has been vocal opponent of the liners’ surcharges, saying that often they are unjust and baseless.

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