TIP-OFF

As reports on the recent FIATA World Congress elsewhere in this issue show, there were plenty of topics to be discussed among the members of the world’s freight forwarding associations during the five-day event in Dubai. Two subjects that were strictly taboo, however, were deliberations or even questions about surcharges and price fixing. A “Note […]


As reports on the recent FIATA World Congress elsewhere in this issue show, there were plenty of topics to be discussed among the members of the world’s freight forwarding associations during the five-day event in Dubai. Two subjects that were strictly taboo, however, were deliberations or even questions about surcharges and price fixing.

A “Note to all participants”, which was floating around in the conference area, stated that: “The Chairman will not entertain any discussions regarding surcharges or price fixing. We thank you for your understanding.”

One delegate opined that with the ongoing investigations and raids by the authorities in the US and Europe, the entire price fixing saga seems to have taken an unexpected turn as the attention is now clearly focused on the freight forwarders.

The price fixing investigations initially started in February 2006 with FBI and EU prosecutors raiding offices of a large number of cargo airlines and combination carriers.

After the February raids, rumours quickly started to spread that disgruntled forwarders had informed the authorities about alleged price fixing by the airlines, because most airlines refused to pay the agents commission on collected surcharges.

This time, insiders allege that several leading freight forwarders hardly had to pay any fuel surcharges, but were charged a higher kilo rate, which obviously was passed on to the shippers.