Thailand Maritime News, September Summary
Growing grudge against container shipping giants
Sep 9: Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) on Sep 8 has held an online meeting with Carl W. Bentzel, USA FMC (Federal Maritime Commission) Commissioner, to discuss issues arising from container crisis. Thailand exporters and importers are badly impacted by container crisis, and the impact isn’t restricted by skyrocketing freight rates only.
TNSC finds freight rates increase to be unjust in a number of ways, considering stable costs of the majority of services required for handling containers – labor costs, port charges do remain the same, while liner companies impose bunker and other surcharges. Sharp increase in berth waiting time and surcharges lead to a jump in freight rates, a burden to be shared by shippers alone.
TNSC and Thai exporters failed to negotiate with liner companies stable and reliable service terms and freights. Liner companies failed to keep up to agreements both in freight rates and services they undertook to provide.
To the contrary of the increase of freight and service charges, services quality dramatically decreased, in a number of ways. Liner companies failed in punctuality and schedules; while at the same time, periods of delivering and receiving containers in ports are on continuous rise. The condition of containers provided, is more often than not, unsatisfactory, and doesn’t meet the standards required by client. Liner companies change schedules and reduce the frequency of service at their own will, without proper concern about the harms they brought to their clients. As a result, exporters fail to deliver their goods, as specified in purchase contracts.
Mr. Carl W. Bentzel said it was aware of the concerns and problems that arise around the world and that FMC is trying to find a solution for the affected countries, examining the root causes of freight rate sharp increase, including the global container turnover problem. FMC, he said, is also aware of the problem of the shipping lines refusing to provide services in accordance with the principles of fair trade.
FMC promised to look into liner majors practices of unfair trade, inviting all concerned countries to take part in related studies. FMS asked TNSC to address FMC with official letter, which will provide all related information and facts.
Comment: FMC in other words, said nothing decisive or definite, thus avoiding any responsibility for the US ports chaos, which is effectively destroying the US economy. If FMC doesn’t care about its’ homeland economy well-being, why should it care for foreign economies? Solution to this wholly artifical “container crisis” is one and one only – nations wanting to stay independent and prosperous, should break through the “Iron Curtain” of strangling monopolism, made by multinational corporations and assisting them, rotten to the core with corruption, international legislative bodies and organizations.
RCL continues buying ships and lays hopes with regional container trade
RCL Public Company Limited is set to buy 5 ships in total, in year 2021, including 2 6,000 TEU ships; 2 3,000 TEU and 1 1,500 TEU. Container ship OOCL ANTWERP (IMO 9307011, dwt 66940, capacity 5888 TEU, built 2006) changed hands and was renamed AKA BHUM in early August 2021. Container ship APL NORWAY (IMO 9403621, dwt 72807, capacity 6,310 TEU, built 2007) is in ownership of RCL since Sep 1, under the name of BHUDTHI BHUM.
RCL believes China, ASEAN and India will be the main drivers of container trade in near term, and plans to invest mostly, in regional liner and feeder services.
RCL is operating a fleet of up to 50 container ships, connecting Thailand to more than 66 destinations in Asia, India, India subcontinent and the Middle East, and feeder service connecting Thailand with Singapore.