GSF says unjustified VGM charges are unacceptable

Aug 12 | 2016

The Global Shippers’ Forum has said that there is no justification for carriers and terminal operators to apply any charge for a shipper making an accurate VGM declaration under the new SOLAS regulations that came into force on 1 July, 2016.

Regrettably, however, it appears that some carriers and other ‘service providers’ appear to be exploiting the introduction of the new VGM rules by imposing exorbitant and unjustified charges for questionable and unspecified ‘administration fees’ and other ‘services’.  

The GSF is calling for those charges to be withdrawn immediately. The GSF is currently examining the following examples provided by members and will be taking them up with the service providers:  

  • China: The global forwarding company Kuhne + Nagel is charging a VGM administration fee for all K+N shipments booked in China - specifically USD 12.75 for full containers if shippers are using the K+N electronic VGM system, or US$25 for manual data entry.  

Similarly, OOCL Logistics have announced that they will be charging a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) administration fee of US$15 per document for all exports from China.  

  • Nigeria: The logistics and shipping firm Grimaldi Agency Nigeria have notified customers that they will weigh containers on departure at a cost of N20,000 per 20 foot container and N40,000 per 40 foot.  
  • Sri Lanka: GSF members have advised that shipping lines are considering charging shippers US$25 for submitting the VGM, and, in cases where the final weight differs from the booked weight, an additional charge of US$50 for amending the VGM.  
  • UK & Ireland: The ports group DP World, which owns both Southampton and London Gateway ports, impose a £1 charge for VGMs provided prior to arrival (rising to £3 after box arrival but before 24 hour cut off).   

Chris Welsh, GSF Secretary-General, said: “Shippers worldwide support the safety goals of the container weighing requirements and are committed to fulfilling their regulatory requirements, but this should not be used by supply chain partners as an excuse to impose unjustified fees. This is particularly concerning for developing countries, especially in Africa and Oceania, which according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) pay 40 to 70 per cent more on average for the international transport of their imports than developed countries.” 

Photo: New VGM rules are being exploited for profit.

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