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BHETA’s international shipping campaign

Over the last twelve months the cost of Global shipping has increased dramatically – up to 700% for some routes – which is causing problems for many companies including many BHETA members.

The speed and scale of the price increases raises a question mark over the level of competition in the market.

We urge all BHETA members to write to your MP and request they press the Competition & Markets Authority to investigate the international shipping market, and to take any other action open to Government.

BHETA has created:

  1. a template letter for members to download and use as the basis for your own letters – download the letter
  2. a summary of views from BHETA members to add weight to your letter from members such as Spear & Jackson, Metaltex, Meyer, The DRH Collection, Eddingtons, Horwood, Monument Tools and DKB – download the document

To support members BHETA has also:

  1. written to the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng – view the letter
  2. written to the Competition & Markets Authority – view the letter
  3. featured members’ views in an article in the Daily Telegraph – view the article

Whilst the shipping challenges are impacting most importers, BHETA Members are being particularly badly hit because of the particularly strong worldwide demand for home-related goods:

BHETA Chief Operating Officer, Will Jones, said: “The international shipping companies are profiteering and taking advantage of the situation. There appears to be a lack of conviction from the UK government to respond”.

Steve Turner – Export Sales Director, Spear and Jackson: “There is immense frustration with the shipping companies. Not only are the costs horrific but the availability of containers is beyond frustrating. This has had a knock-on effect with late deliveries and fines from large retailers and cancelled orders. We have levied significant price increases the like of which I have not seen in my career to date, and to rationalise products that are no longer cost effective to land in the UK. We need answers on what has driven the cost of a 40ft container to go from $2,250 to $18,900 in a year. The shipping companies are profiteering from the Covid pandemic. The UK government along with the other larger global economies must act together to insist these costs are controlled to a manageable level”.

Claire Whalley-Livesey – Group Sales Director, Meyer Group: “We would like global bodies or governments to work together to apply pressure on the shipping companies, and the Government to provide financial support such as tax relief to businesses to reduce the impact of these costs”.

Richard Walker – Commercial Director, Eddingtons: “We applied a temporary freight surcharge to all customer invoices in May and then brought in a general price increase from 1st August. These price increases on imported goods will certainly flow through to consumers.”

Rob Jones – Managing Director – Horwood (Judge and Stellar brands) “This is a HUGE issue across industry, and there is a huge frustration with shipping companies: agreed shipping contracts are being delayed or ignored in favour of a quick, more profitable sailing for the Shipping companies; and containers are being left across the globe, leading to shortages at source. New ‘surcharges’ are being added by the Shipping Companies to try to justify cost increases.

Jonathan Collier – Managing Director, Monument Tools “As a net exporter of goods and as an importer of some products to enhance our product range I am angry about the way the last 18 months has unfolded and the collateral damage from Covid as well as the (almost certain) profiteering and disorganization of freight companies. We are seeing extended lead times from Far East suppliers, increase in costs and of course severe increases in shipping costs and shipping delays”.

Mark Newbold – UK Country Manager, Metaltex UK: “For full containers we are now paying up to $18,000. The shipping companies seem to be doing little to alleviate the situation. We have products where the cost to ship is greater than the cost to manufacture. The UK Government has to really engage to find a solution and fast – inflation will skyrocket if they don’t.”

Nick Hunt – Global Operations and Supply Chain Director, DKB (Jamie Oliver/Cole & Mason): “We have seen costs rise over the last 15-18 months from around $2k USD per 40ft container to more than $17-$18k USD, whilst availability has become more and more scarce and less and less punctual. We are essentially victim of a cartel”.

David Holmes – Managing Director, The DRH Collection: “I feel that the economists have not realised the huge pent up inflationary pressure of these issues. Last week Reckitt issued a profit warning due to higher commodity and freight costs, and this will be followed across businesses large and small. There will be few winners.”

Please support the BHETA campaign and write to your local MP. This issue needs to become a key focus for Government action.

download the draft letter

download BHETA member quotes


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