Shippers want new air cargo charges dropped

MASkargo, the freight arm of Malaysia Airlines, is raising warehouse tariffs for the first time in six years. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Air freight companies and shippers are seeking a suspension of new charges by MASkargo which came into effect yesterday, predicting that prices of air-flown imported goods could rise by 10-12%.

The secretary-general of the Malaysian National Shippers Council, Nathan K Suppiah, said the prices of salmon, apples and other imported produce could be affected.

“We are seeking a meeting with MASkargo and the international trade and industry ministry to stop the increase in charges,” he said.

MASkargo is the freight arm of Malaysia Airlines Bhd. The company announced last month that warehouse tariffs would be raised for the first time in six years.

A terminal charge was raised from 25 sen per kg to 28 sen at KLIA, and from 20 sen per kg to 22 sen at other airports. A special handling fee of 5 sen per kg was introduced, as well as a cold-room charge of RM1.50 per kg. These services were previously free for the first 24 hours.

MASkargo chief executive Ibrahim Mohamad Salleh said the increases in charges were necessary because operating costs had gone up since 2013. The new charges would also help the cargo airline recoup investments in cargo handling facilities.

An executive of an airfreight forwarding company who declined to be named said the increased charges came at a challenging time because of the sluggish economy.

“The increase will affect not only imported goods like perishables, electronics and pharmaceuticals, but also exports such as fresh flowers, frozen seafood and general cargo.”

He said the new charges could cause as much as 30% of total exports to be diverted to Singapore by road because “they have no terminal charges”.

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