The European Commission has said it does not consider the massive increases in ocean freight container rates from Asia as a good enough reason to investigate carriers for infringing the Block Exemption Regulations (BER) - as reported in The Loadstar.

Two large European membership organisations had approached the commission for intervention. Focusing on the increased blank sailings, the decrease in schedule reliability and the price hikes that have followed – they argued this was leaving many businesses in a precarious financial position.

While the commission confirmed they are aware of the current market position and of the soaring prices, they have reportedly suggested that this is just a surge of demand caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, they did acknowledge that this warranted further discussions with other stake holders, including the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and China’s Ministry of Commerce – we won’t hold our breath then.

In the meantime, rates continue to soar and more blanked sailings are expected.

While the Westbound team continue to do their best to accommodate customer’s needs, we need to remind everybody that in the current conditions, bookings for the UK or US are by no means guaranteed.

Even confirmed bookings will often experience up to 2-3 weeks delays – caused by last minute vessel changes or transit delays due to berthing slots not being available.

At Westbound Logistics we pride ourselves in offering personalised and tailored logistics solutions. To find out more please call 01375 800800​ oemail

7. Rate Fluctuation – it happens! More recently, rates fluctuate up and down every single month, and sometimes weekly. If you do not buy FOB terms, your factory will set the margin of freight allowance at their worst case scenario – i.e the highest rate level. You will NOT benefit from the lows during rate drops. It’s YOUR business, it’s YOUR money, so YOU should have the savings, not your supplier.

8. Visibility – Think about service. For every product/SKU you have on board, you could have customers chasing. What do you tell them? When is it arriving? If you don’t choose your own Freight Forwarder, you are not the customer and are likely to get 2nd hand info via the Chinese factory of when the cargo will arrive. It’s not always accurate. It’s also likely on a cheap service that tranships at other ports on the way increasing the chances of delays. Service is paramount to any successful business.

9. Risk – Who owns the goods whislt in transit? You own the goods as soon as you’ve paid for them, however if the factory (whether it be China, USA, Far East, India, Europe) do not send you the original bill of lading which acts as a receipt for the goods, or an Express Release authoriation to the Freight company, you cannot have your goods. We have known suppliers to go into liquidation during transit, and the goods for importers not released. Choosing your own freight forwarder can really help in this situation whereas you have more control.

We will publish another article for import costs, explaining what you should pay and when, including VAT/DUTY. How to calculate your bottom line costs.

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