The GRI looks set for history

Container shipping pricing set for major changes.

For at least three years, the major shipping lines will no longer be able to boost revenue on routes with opaque, optimistically priced and often unsustainable general rate increases.

Following antitrust proceedings started by the EU in 2013*, carriers will no longer be allowed to publish and communicate GRIs. Specifically; changes to prices expressed solely as a percentage or amount of change.

The container lines have responded with a series of pricing commitments, to which interested parties have a month to comment.flx__0146

They will stop publishing and communicating General Rate Increase announcements, as a percentage of overall price.

Announcements will now include all five main elements of the total price, including terminal handling, bunker, peak season and security charges.

These prices would be binding as a maximum ceiling – though carriers will remain free to offer prices below these ceilings – and the announcement of an increase could not be made more than 31 days in advance of implementation.

“We look forward to a new, clear and open approach by the shipping line operators which will remove the need for our members to resort to court proceedings for competition damages,” said Chris Welsh, the Freight Transport Association’s director of policy.

While we welcome these changes, we will continue to press our trade associations to also seek service improvements with the carriers.

*The FTA raised a complaint about uncompetitive behaviour to the EU in 2010, which led to 15 shipping lines coming under investigation: China Shipping, CMA CGM, Cosco , Evergreen, Hamburg Süd, Hanjin, Hapag Lloyd, HMM, Maersk, MOL, MSC, NYK, OOCL, UASC and ZIM.