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Shipping lines accused of cartel behaviour as container freight rates from India soar

As shipping lines have increased freight rates by 50 – 60% since March for almost all trade lanes out of India, they are now being accused of forming a cartel by shippers.

An added problem is the a major container shortage has been evident across the country, especially when multiple boxes are required on a single booking. This problem in turn has been exacerbated by reduced Indian imports in recent months, and by delays in repositioning containers returning from the West, as also by congestion in the regional transhipment hub of Colombo.

A senior executive of Worldwide Logistics (India), a large freight forwarding agency headquartered in New Jersey: “India’s container shortage could last another three months, as a result of shooting demand, reduced imports and port rotation issues. Vessels which were idling during the corona-lockdown were re-routed to more profitable trades on the transpacific route, leading to supply and demand gaps for major intra-Asia trading routes.”

Due to a lack of containerships calling at Indian ports, many carriers and NVOCCs have cut short their container lease positions, which has created a further shortage and led to additional costs and time to reposition boxes. 


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