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FTA welcome end of FEFC surcharge

The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the decision of the Far Eastern Freight Conference to end its surcharge on imports to the UK from the Far East at the end of January.

The surcharge has been in place since the beginning of December and has cost British consumers and industry US$145 for every twenty foot container brought into the UK by members of that Conference.

FTA's Head of Global Supply Chain, Christopher Snelling said, 'We are glad the FEFC has responded to criticisms by FTA and now removed the surcharge. This will save the importers of goods an unnecessary and unproductive charge. There should never have been such a surcharge in the first place as it does nothing to address the very real problems we face in this country regarding inadequate port facilities, and does not seem to be related to any particular short term problem.'

The FEFC, along with all other liner shipping conferences in Europe, will be abolished in October this year following the application of EU competition law to this sector. FTA has campaigned for fifteen years for this change. Snelling said, 'Liner shipping does face problems with severely constrained port facilities in the UK. But FTA hopes this is the last time such a blunt, old fashioned approach is taken by the liner shipping industry to such a complex problem. We hope the industry now starts to prepare for October by beginning to operate in a more normal, competitive fashion.

'FTA has organised a meeting next week of stakeholders in the maritime supply chain, including the members of the FEFC, to discuss the problems facing Britain's container ports and what can be done to improve the process. We hope this will form a new model of how the industry can work – coming together to find constructive solutions to improve the service to the ultimate user: UK business and consumers.'

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