Every industry has a trade organization. For freight forwarders, that organization is FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association. Since the formation of FIATA in 1926, this organization has represented the approximately 40,000 logistics companies around the globe. Their main objectives include uniting all of their members with one voice, improving the quality of freight transportation, train all of their freight forwarders properly and represent all of their best interests.
The Journal of Commerce recently reported of some comments from the leadership of FIATA regarding the relationship between freight forwarders and shipping carriers. FIATA asked carriers for more transparency and some more explanations when it comes to recent surcharges. In the past, shipping lines would add surcharges to cover additional expenses for different shipments. Now, many forwarders and shippers are worried that current surcharges seem arbitrary and are only used as profit mechanisms. Examples include container cleaning or container sealing surcharges. FIATA leadership believes that there has sometimes been a lack of evidence with these surcharges. If the shipping lines simply provided some evidence, then there would be enough transparency to satisfy the forwarders. In addition, there is some concern about surcharges from the shipping lines related to port congestion.
In the end, forwarders and shippers are both united because they want the same thing – the truth. It is understandable if there are surcharges added to an ocean freight rate to cover unique expenses. But, if shipping lines are adding arbitrary surcharges, then this could be extremely problematic for the freight shipping industry. Hopefully, there can be some common ground.