Inside Logistics

GSF issues its Forum Declaration after 2010 meeting

Global Shippers’ Forum meeting in China focused on need for maritime regulatory reform

October 12, 2010
by MM&D staff

The 2010 Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) ended its two-day meeting this past September in China with some new developments.

Members, for instance, made progress toward the GSF’s goal of attaining NGO status.

Working toward achieving that status was a decision made at the 2009 meeting in London.

During this year’s meeting, members authorized the necessary organizational and democratic arrangements to achieve it.

As an NGO, the GSF will be able to play a greater role in global inter-governmental decision-making bodies.

As a result, GSF represented global shipper interests in UN bodies, such as the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the International Transport Forum conference in Leipzig, and was invited by APEC to contribute to its policy work for the first time.

Maritime regulatory reform

The GSF meeting also focused on the continuing need for maritime regulatory reform.

The past year, it says, has witnessed a variety of unacceptable shipping practices.

These include:

• The imposition of abrupt and opportunistic rate increases and surcharges;

• Cargo “roll overs;”

• The limitation of shipping capacity; and

• A general lack of adherence to rate agreements and contractual arrangements on an unprecedented global scale.

These practices have had a major impact on supply chains, disrupting and delaying deliveries especially for time-sensitive shipments.

The GSF says they have also acted as a barrier to developing international trade at a time when it’s vital to economic recovery and supporting employment.

All these issues were raised at a seminar where regulators from Europe and North America reviewed recent changes to competition law in Europe and possible regulatory changes in the US and discussed whether a current study in the Asia-Pacific area into non-rate making agreements offers any solutions in an Asian context to manage capacity and the recent shortages suffered by shippers.


Also at this year’s meeting, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and GSF explored a range of issues, including a review of the current economic situation, an update on the IATA’s e-freight initiative and environmental issues.

Both agreed that the environmental taxes Germany implemented and which the UK is discussing are inappropriate and that environmental measures should be dealt with on a global level.

CITA response

The Canadian Industrial Transportation Association (CITA) says this year’s meeting “broke new ground.”

“For the first time it featured an opening seminar with speakers from major regulatory agencies of the EU, US, China, and Canada who provided insight into the evolving regulation of ocean freight in major markets” said Bob Ballantyne, CITA’s president.

“As a trading nation, the impact of decisions made by various agencies and governments throughout the world has an impact on Canadian shippers and importers.”