Govt rules out capping of freight rate; says cannot intervene under a free market regime

The government, on Thursday, ruled out the capping of freight rates, which have been on a constant uptick, However, they made it clear that shipping lines needed to be transparent in their pricing as the Competition Commission could look into the issue.

Further, the government is also looking into suggestions to restrict the shipment of empty containers from Indian ports as China is paying a premium for these containers.

As per reports, while one port has imposed a limit on the number of empty containers that a ship can carry, other ports are likely to follow suit. This is a modal window.

The government has also mapped out other plans and strategies to combat rising container prices over the next few weeks, with Indian Railways and the shipping ministry asked to explore options, along with the commerce department.

In a meeting with the railway minister Ashwani Vaishnaw and industry bodies, commerce & industry minister Piyush Goyal ruled out the capping of freight rates, arguing that the government cannot intervene under a free market regime.

Some of the shipping lines have started charging for priority booking, further pushing up costs, and industry bodies have demanded a first-come, first-serve mechanism. Further, there have been suggestions that nearly 20,000 containers that have been abandoned or are with customs be released.

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