Shippers question accuracy of data provided by ocean carriers

Most shippers negotiating rates with shipping lines would not trust a price index created from data supplied by the lines themselves.

Preliminary results from a poll conducted by show that shippers are questioning the value of price indices for liner shipping services.

Although responses are still coming in, Dr Andrew Traill says that the poll seems to be revealing a degree of scepticism about the proposed development of price indices by the carriers’ group ELAA. “This supports very much what shippers’ representative groups are saying,” adds Traill.

He says that shippers seem to think that lines might offer their highest, rather than average, rate increase for inclusion in the index – in order to raise the general benchmark for negotiations.

“A larger response to our poll would be useful to verify these early results,” says Traill, adding that much will depend on just how the ELAA proposals would work, but this highlights a level of distrust among shippers in the liner shipping industry that will need to be addressed by the ELAA if its plans do come to be realised.

The poll results come at a time when tensions are already rising between shippers and the container shipping industry over plans to replace the soon-to-be-banned conference system with an ‘information exchange’ – which both the European forwarders’ association CLECAT and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) have branded as anti-competitive.