The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is surveying its entire membership to ascertain views on the current practices undertaken by container shipping lines, as well as opinions on the easements and exemptions provided to those lines under competition law.

BIFA director general, Robert Keen, said that over the last several months, the secretariat has received many complaints from its members about significant changes within the maritime market, including high freight rates, surcharges, and new business practices by the lines, which limit market access for forwarders. 

Keen added: “BIFA believes that after communication with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), it is clear that substantive evidence will be required for them to consider a review of the maritime supply chain, including shipping line practices that may be distorting the operations of the free market to the detriment of international trade.

“We will analyse and use the information and data obtained from the survey, which is only for BIFA corporate members, to support a submission to the CMA on members’ behalf, with all responses being aggregated, and no data released that identifies an individual respondent.

“Hopefully the results of the survey will deliver some objective evidence regarding the current state of the deepsea container market.”