25 Feb 2009

Consumer Council of Fiji has concerns over exorbitant freight charges

12:04 pm on 25 February 2009

The Consumer Council of Fiji says the formula used by shipping companies to set freight rates lacks transparency.

Its chief executive, Premila Kumar, has told the Fiji Times this was the cause of exorbitant freight charges.

Mrs Kumar was commenting on why supermarket and companies in Fiji were not cutting price of goods and services as a result of the fall in fuel price.

She says shipping lines controlled 60 per cent of sea freight routes between Fiji-Australia-New Zealand, with Australia and New Zealand being Fiji's important trading partners.

Mrs Kumar says prices of imports from Australia and New Zealand should decrease given the global downward trend in commodity prices, including the decrease in the price of petroleum products.

Meanwhile, local ship owner, Leo Smith, says domestic freight rates were controlled by the Prices and Incomes Board.