Gad Sheffer, chairman of Israel's Shippers Council addressed last week the ministers of Transport and Agriculture to intervene in order to stop some of the shipping companies from increasing freight rates of refrigerated containers.
His address came a day after the freight rates' increase went into effect.
Sheffer argued in his address that the decision to increase rates was “a death blow to Israel's agricultural exports”.
According to Sheffer the us$ 450 freight rate increase, from 2,050 to us$ 2,500 per container, for destinations such as northern Europe, would severely harm agricultural exports, especially for inexpensive products like citrus and potatoes.
Sheffer also claimed that the world daily hire rates of containerships had been steadily falling even lower compared to the daily hire rates during the corresponding period last year.
Sheffer noted that certain investigations carried out by well known European shipping research institutes, predicted the further fall of the daily rates in general, and in the reefer market in particular since the market had been calm over the last few month due to the Foot and Mouth disease in Brazil which brought the meat export business to a stand still.
Sheffer added that inquiries made among Cypriot, Egyptian, Turkish and Greek exporters revealed that there was no intention to raise freight rates in their trades.