In August, a group of exporters announced that it would approach the Competition Commission of India to investigate possible cartelisation by shipping lines. The basis of its complaints is skyrocketing freight rates — as much as three to four times over the last one year — and a 15 per cent drop in container availability.
But shipping companies claim this steep rise in logistics costs has been the result of the disruptions following worldwide national lockdowns as Covid-19 spread. Indian exporters aren’t the only ones suffering. US President Joe Biden directed the Federal Maritime Commission to crack down on “unjust and unreasonable fees” in the shipping sector.
“This crisis is a global issue. If the cartelisation allegation is to be probed, it will have to be probed globally. Companies with 600-700 ships had to stop their operations following the 2008 crisis,” Amitabh Kumar, director-general
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