The Israel Shippers' Council (ISC) announced last week its decision to quit the European Shipper's council (ESC). The Israeli council who represents Israeli shippers has been a member of the ESC since the early 60 of last century.
The ESC represents the vast majority of EU goods distributed by sea, road, rail, inland waterways and air. ESC, based in Brussels, acts as the “eyes and ears” for its member organizations – the national shippers’ councils – in respect of EU legislative activity. Equally it functions as the mouth-piece for shippers in Brussels. It has the dual role of gathering and feeding back vital intelligence on current and future EU policy developments and directly lobbying for ESC positions vis-à-vis the European institutions. It does this in close co-operation with its members.
Announcing the decision, Gad Schaefer, the Israel Shippers' Council (ISC) chairman noted that latest developments in ESC initiatives are not accepted by the Israeli shippers community and create conflict of interests. Schaefer noted that the ESC adopted a policy prohibiting shippers to ship with shipping companies which are active members of Liner Conferences.
The ESC decision which may be reasonable to west European shippers is unreasonable to the Israeli shippers who ship goods with Liner Conferences to the USA and Japan with which Israel has strong commercial ties. Schaefer added that ISC's main concern is to assist small and medium shippers.
In the past the ISC could negotiate shipping terms on behalf of the small and medium shippers and managed to keep reasonable freight rates whereas now the small and medium shippers have no protection and are subject not only to large freight increases but also to increases in demurrage charges and other surcharges.