AISL open to dialogue with exporters to fix vessel space shortage

The Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) welcomed exporters’ call for a dialogue to help resolve vessel space issues that have resulted in shipment delays.

AISL president Patrick Ronas, in a phone interview with PortCalls, said their association, composed of international container lines calling the Philippines, can help exporters connect with carriers able to accept urgent shipments.

Ronas said AISL has already had discussions with food exporters to explain the vessel space situation and provide suggestions. Among suggestions Ronas puts forward is the use of Cost and Freight (CFR) instead of Free on Board (FOB) on sales contracts. CFR allows exporters to nominate the shipping line instead of leaving this decision to importers who may be unaware of issues with space availability.

The Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) recently said its members have complained of shipment delays and huge losses because of worsening supply chain and logistics issues, particularly lack of vessel space, soaring freight rates and container shortage. PHILEXPORT said the affected exporters are seeking a dialogue with industry players and relevant government agencies to find solutions to their concerns.

Addressing the issue of vessel space shortage, Ronas said this is due to unavailable space or slots on mother vessels calling regional transshipment ports, usually Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Busan and Kaohsiung. Even if a Philippine export shipment is loaded onto a feeder vessel (the Philippines isn’t called by mother vessels due to lack of volume), the shipment may still get stuck in transshipment ports and accumulate charges while waiting for available space, he explained.

Ronas earlier pointed out a shipping line will only allocate a container to the shipper if the container has a guaranteed space on the mother vessel. Otherwise, containers will be “rolled over and storage fees can accumulate, which shippers will not be prepared to shoulder.”

(For the full report, visit PORTCALLS)

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