Fri, 29 Sep 2000

Ginsi asks members not to pay shipping fees

JAKARTA (JP): The Association of Indonesian Importers (Ginsi) directed all of its members on Thursday not pay the terminal handling charge (THC) imposed by foreign shipping companies.

Amirudin Saud, the chairman of the association, said that the so-called THC, which was first introduced during the Gulf War in 1992, was no longer relevant.

"The charge is not only very costly for Indonesian importers but it does not make sense any more," he told a media briefing.

Amirudin said that shipping companies grouped in the Overseas Shipowners' Representative Association (OSRA) first imposed the THC on cargoes shipped from Europe and the United States to Asia in 1992 during the Gulf War. The charge was introduced to offset the higher operational costs incurred by cargo ships heading from Europe or the United States to Asia during the war, when vessels were forced to reroute their journeys via Africa to avoid the conflict zone.

Amirudin said that the shipping companies had lifted the charge for all other Asian countries, except Indonesia, immediately after the war ended. "This is discriminative treatment for Indonesia," he said.

According to him, GINSI has been asking the Ministry of Transportation and Communications since 1995 to help settle the matter but there had been no concrete action taken.

The charge has now reached US$155 per container from just $50 per container when it was first introduced.

Amirudin estimated Indonesian importers had paid a total of US$2.7 billion as a result of the handling charge since the Gulf War.

Amirudin also called on importers not to pay the Indonesian Port Surcharge (IPS) which will be imposed by local and foreign shipping companies beginning next month.

He said that the surcharge which would cost US$25 for every 20-foot container, and US$40 for a 40-foot container, would be imposed following the government's recent move to raise the stevedoring fees charged to shipping companies by 30 percent. (02)