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Container charges face new regulations in UAE amid transparency concerns

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2023-05-08  Origin: freshplaza
Core Tip: Local container charges levied by ocean carriers and freight forwarders are poised to face scrutiny from the trade regulators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Local container charges levied by ocean carriers and freight forwarders are poised to face scrutiny from the trade regulators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Dubai Maritime Authority (DMA), which oversees operations of ports, customs and free trade zones in UAE, has issued a decree calling on all transport service providers to upload their container charges on its single-window digital platform, called “Dubai Trade Single Window Portal.”

The order took effect on 1 May and existing licensed stakeholders have 30 days to comply with the requirement.

According to DMA, the scope of local charges covers “any and all services provided in the Emirate arising out of or in connection with sea container operations, including but not limited to loading and unloading, weighing, handling, shifting within or between terminal(s), ports or inland storage facilities, storage, stuffing, destuffing, dunning, sealing, delivery, custom clearing or obtaining any government permits/licences/documents, surveillance, inspection, monitoring and repair, as well as cargo or container document issuance, delivery, exchange or amendment.”

After filing, service providers will not be allowed to increase their declared tariffs without obtaining prior approval from DMA.

“The maritime sector plays a significant role in enhancing Dubai’s business and economic value proposition,” Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, executive director of DMA, said in a statement.

Sheikh Saeed also noted, “The newly introduced directive is based on a thorough study we conducted as part of efforts to consolidate Dubai’s status as a global maritime hub, enhance the transparency and cost-visibility of local sea container charges, and ultimately boost the sector’s investment attractiveness.”

He went on to explain, “Introducing the directive will allow us to analyse data submitted by service providers and determine whether they reflect commercial best practices and fair competition, which we are tasked with promoting in Dubai’s maritime sector.”

The updated trade regulation is expected to have major implications for the container logistics industry, as violations will attract penalties and other licensing consequences.

“The Authority has the right to raise objections in respect of any charge filed by a service provider under this directive at any time,” the order stated. “Any such objection must be complied with by the relevant service provider as per this directive promptly and to the Authority's satisfaction,” it added.

Transparency and predictability in logistics costs have long been a major point of contention between shipping lines and shippers. But regulations implemented by different governments have seen limited success as pricing is generally governed by supply-demand dynamics.
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