John Mason International is joining calls for the European Commission (EC) to review its competition regulations for container shipping.
For some time, the leading international removals specialist has been monitoring a significant rise in shipping costs worldwide. And, with maritime transport crucial to the process of sending its clients’ personal possessions to new locations across the globe, the company says the situation has reached crisis point.
“As key members of both the global alliance of quality-certified international moving and relocation companies (FIDI), and the International Association of Movers (IAM), we are pleased that both bodies have thrown their weight behind calls for a close look at the European Union’s Consortia Block Exemption Regulation for the shipping industry,” says John Mason International director, Simon Hood.
“This contentious regulation allows shipping lines to escape many of the EU’s competition law checks – effectively enabling them to exchange commercially sensitive information to manage how ships are deployed across the world.
“Between them, the shipping lines can direct how many ships are used, and how often they are used. This, in turn, is driving up costs exponentially – creating massive challenges for those who wish to transport goods across the globe.
“During the past two years, we have faced massive challenges. Like everyone else, we are very much at the mercy of international shipping lines – who are increasing open market rates, and creating havoc with bookings.
“We know what has led to the current situation – Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Suez Canal crisis, have all played their part. But these contributory factors have eased somewhat. Although we are now experiencing rising fuel costs, the current behaviour of shipping lines means we and our customers are facing continuously rising costs well beyond the levels that they should be.
“This is in no small part due to the ability of the shipping industry to collectively manage the impacts of world events – and at the same time generate profits of more than US$186 billion.
“As FIDI and IAM members, John Mason International wholeheartedly backs any review of the rules regulating the behaviour of the shipping industry – particularly the Block Exemption situation.
“Despite all our efforts to minimise the effects the global shipping crisis is having on our customers, we cannot completely protect them from the knock-on costs.
“We are certainly not profiting from any price rises in transporting people’s personal belongings overseas.
‘In fact, our team is working tirelessly to secure the very best shipping rates and timely container bookings. Being members of FIDI and IAM helps us to do this but, until the behaviour of shipping lines is more strictly regulated, we are faced with one of the biggest challenges in our very long history. I’d like to thank our customers for their understanding, as we do our very best to overcome these serious obstacles over the coming months.