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Shipping rates to increase; drug prevention costs appear.

Shipping rates to increase; drug prevention costs appear

The cost of international shipping continues to rise. A number of conferences are planning increases in their rates.

It appears that drugs will have a bearing on ocean rates, as we understand that some trades will impose a per container "security charge" to offset the added cost of the ever rising costs of drug smuggling prevention.

Congestion at Bangkok, Thailand has been a problem now for some time. Recently changes in customs procedures threatened to slow things up again, however, the new procedures have been postponed indefinitely in response to the complaints of shippers, exporters, and others. Cargo handling at Indian Ports has been disrupted by a slow down of the dock workers. Just how long this will last is not known.

In actions taken by the Federal Maritime Commission we note that the investigation into rebating continues in the TransPacific trades. The investigation is entitled Fact Finding Investigation No. 18, and the FMC has recently appointed a second investigative officer to share the authority and important responsibilities of the proceeding. It now appears that in addition to rebating, other malpractices have been going on such as misdescription of the container contents, improper absorption of costs, and misweighing of containers.

Work is continuing on the automated tariff system. It has recently been reported that the FMC is looking for some candidates to test the system. It is anticipated that testing will begin in April of 1990 with full scale operation set to commence in January of 1991.

The FMC also wants to clarify the definition of a shipper. Recently the FMC published a proposed rule in which the Commission proposed to redefine the term "Shipper" to include only a person who is legally responsible for payment of the ocean transportation charges. It will be interesting to see how a shipper is described after all of the comments have been received and the Commission comes out with a Final Rule.

Overweight containers are still in the news. Two proposals are before the Federal Maritime Commission now (1) which would forbid water carriers to charge a per container rate on certain commodities and (2) place a maximum on the gross weight of containers. The proposals have sparked a difference in opinions between shippers and freight carriers. The shippers arguing that the proposals, in effect, amount to a rate increase, whereas carriers maintain the changes are needed to keep overloaded containers off the highways. The Commission will have to weight all of the comments and come up with a decision. Along the same lines, Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner in a recent speech indicated that shippers may have to bear the liability for overweight ocean containers.

Electronic tariff filling is a matter that is before the motor carriers, railroads, and ocean carriers. Filling electronically will be the first step in eventual elimination of the many paper tariffs that must be filed today. Recently the Interstate Commerce Commission gave the railroads the go ahead to start filling tariffs electronically, however, at least for the next year, they will also have to continue publishing the paper tariffs. This, of course, would be a hedge against any problems that might arise with the automated system.
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Title Annotation:coffee trade
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Dec 1, 1989
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