On 21 February 2017 China's Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced its decision to impose fines totalling RMB 2.39 million (US$347,247) for failure to file freight rates, or applying freight rates inconsistent with the filed records (including offering ‘zero rates’ on some routes), against 14 liner shipping companies.9
Subsequently, on 1 March 2017 China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced in a press release that 11 liner shipping companies have committed to reduce Terminal Handling Charges (THCs) by amounts ranging from 12.8% to 21.9%.10 According to the NDRC’s estimate, this will reduce by around RMB 3.5 billion annually the costs incurred by importing and exporting companies.
The above announcements are the result of a joint investigation by the NDRC and the MOT which began in the first half of 2015, following complaints by domestic Chinese shippers. In addition to requests for information, the NDRC conducted raids on some of the liner shipping companies subject to the investigation.
It is expected that the NDRC will, alongside the MOT, continue to monitor charges levied by the shipping lines and competition in the sector more generally.