Friday, September 17, 2021
As members would be aware, the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) is Australia's representative on the Global Shippers Forum (GSF). Furthermore, I have a privileged role as Secretariat to APSA and as a board director on GSF.
In partnership with other GSF members, (being "shipper" importer / exporter associations), much intelligence, experience and knowledge is being shared in terms of dealing with international shipping lines and related national competition laws.
This network continues to be invaluable in terms of advocacy activity being led in Australia by APSA and Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA).
Last night, GSF board members shared views in terms of the latest global developments (including the Australian breakthrough in having reviews commissioned by the ACCC / Federal Government). Much of the focus was on developments in the United States led by the National Transport Industrial League (NITL) and broader advocacy by the GSF focussed on shipping reform via the European Commission.
In line with this activity, FTA/APSA were last night provided correspondence to the European Commission that was co-signed by major industry associations (including the GSF, the European Shippers' Council and CLECAT – European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services) focussed on shipping competition matters, vulnerabilities in supply chains, oversight of Alliances outside the scope of the Consortia BER, co-operation between parties, monitoring of the market, Maritime Regulatory Summit and initiating the EU review.
In terms of the latter, below is an extract of the correspondence highlighting the need for fast-tracking of reviews:
Finally, you mention that the current "exceptional circumstances" would stand in the way of a deeper review. Indeed, as in many other areas, COVID has laid bare areas that need to be addressed quickly. However, 'Covid' cannot serve as a reason for inaction as its distortive effects will be with us for many years. As shown by the figures published in the latest publication of MDS Container Shipping Market Review, supply chain disruptions do not seem to be linked to exceptional cargo growth, at least in main routes connecting Far East with/to Med/EU.
European industry and consumers cannot wait for Covid to subside before the Commission begins to fully address structural issues. Inaction now could cause irreparable harm to market participants along the logistics chain. Also given that this is a period in which liner shipping companies make record earnings, now is the time to start the review of the regulatory framework of liner shipping.
We trust these comments are helpful for your understanding of the continued calls for review of the regulation of this economically vital industry. Looking forward to your considered replies to the above questions. 
  • MDS Container Shipping Market Review – refer HERE
  • Complete correspondence – refer HERE
FTA/APSA will be again engaging next week with the ACCC to identify the terms of its review on shipping competition matters and in parallel, will continue advocacy at a Ministerial level for a broader review on international shipping and landside logistics practices. 
  • Extract of interview between Paul Zalai and Sue Lannin (CREDIT: ABC NEWS CHANNEL) - refer HERE
  • FTA/APSA position to the Federal Trade Minister – refer HERE 
We look forward to providing a further detailed update next week. 

Paul Zalai - Director FTA | Secretariat APSA | Director GSF