26 Juli 2015

[260715.EN.BIZ] Global Shippers Forum Frustrated Not Getting UN Recognition It 'Deserves'

THE Global Shippers Forum (GSF), which includes the US National Industrial Transportation League and Freight Management Association of Canada (FMA), said it faces "continuing frustration" trying to win formal accreditation by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

"Accreditation to the IMO and other UN agencies will remain a key objective for us in 2015," said GSF chairman Robert Ballantyne, who is also president of the FMA of Canada.

Mr Ballantyne pointed to GSF's role at the IMO in working on a compromise for a new rule that will require verification of container weights, reported American Shipper.

The compromise worked out allows either weighing loaded containers or computing the weight based on the weight of the cargo, pallets, packing and securing materials, which wasn't much of a compromise for most shippers who opposed the weigh-ins altogether.

Other GSF work highlighted by Mr Ballantyne included backing the International Labour Organisation and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on safe stuffing of containers, which added to shipper costs.

Granted, GSF stood against shipping alliances, a position shared by other shipper organisations, and also shared the failure of making no headway on that issue while winning the day on container weigh-ins, which imposed more costs.

GSF has had well publicised disagreements with the European Shippers Council and Asian Shippers' Council, which together have formed a rival group called the Global Shippers Alliance.

The GSF, which incorporated itself to participate in bodies such as UN agencies, purports to represent shippers, but has opposed the European Shippers Council and the Asia Shippers Council over container weigh-ins and other issues.

The GSF backed shipowners who have everything to gain from weigh-ins, leaving Asian and European shippers to pay for yet another expensive compliance cost.

From the start, objecting shippers asked whether the costs of mandatory weigh-ins would exceed the benefits, but found the IMO debate restricted to the method of weighing rather that whether it need be done.

THE Asian Shippers Council (ASC) quit the Global Shippers Forum because of membership rules that would have diluted its vote by allowing smaller regional councils, which it formerly represented, to join as full members.

That left the ASC free to join the European Shippers Council (ESC) in its opposition to mandatory container weigh-ins before loading because of the costs, red tape and lack of clarity over liability.

But Mr Ballantyne said the GSF membership continued growing in 2014 with shippers' councils from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

What's more GSF secretary general Chris Welsh received an MBE in the Queen's Birthday honours list in June.

Source : HKSG.

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