Importers 'will have to bear cost of unnecessary cargo handler surcharges', say freight body

Tue 21 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

The freight forwarding sector has accused air cargo handlers of being opportunistic on surcharges during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cargo handlers had previously warned that they were close to collapse due to the coronavirus crisis.

Four major handling companies – Swissport, dnata, WFS and Menzies – wrote a joint letter to government at the end of March saying they were on the brink of “imminent collapse”.

Robert Keen, director general for BIFA (British International Freight Association), has countered this claim, report Loadstar today.

Importers to bear cost

A spokesman for BIFA told the Daily Update today (21 April) that surcharges will impact importers because forwarders will have to “pass the costs on” to them.

BIFA acknowledged cargo handlers are under pressure, but that its members were in a similar position.

“Handlers are saying they are incurring additional costs due to social distancing measures that they are putting in place in their warehouses and distribution centres, but it’s the same for BIFA members and the forwarders can’t themselves cover those costs as surcharges,” BIFA said.

“All parts of the supply chain are suffering massive financially because of coronavirus, and cargo handlers are no minority.”