Shippers Could Face Price Rises due to Coronavirus

February 5, 2020

The European Shippers Council (ESC) is warning its members to be cautious of any sharp rate increases due to supply chain disruption caused by the new coronavirus in China, but acknowledged that the disruption could lead to capacity tightness and price pressures.

“We might see some adjustment in prices, but this situation should not lead to some sort of commercial ‘exploitation’ by certain parties,” Roger Spoel, the Brussels-based trade body’s policy manager for air freight, told Lloyd’s Loading List. “On too many occasions have we seen the introduction of dubious surcharges and as a sector we should be able to prevent this from happening by spreading eventual additional costs evenly across all parties.

“If there is any doubt about possible misconduct in this regard, shippers should ask for a legal check of their contracts.”

However, he did not seek to play down the consequences of the viral outbreak on international trade flows and highlighted that the industrial verticals mostly likely to be affected are high tech, consumer goods and a wide variety of semi-finished products.

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Source: Lloyd’s Loading List