Swissport levy fuel surcharges

THE ancillary costs of shipping cargo by air have just gone up another notch as the first large handler introduced a fuel surcharge of its own. Starting in mid-June, Swissport is going to levy a surcharge of two per cent on all its contract business to cover its higher energy costs.

The global handling behemoth informed customers that it was following an ‘unfortunate industry trend’. Airlines’ fuel surcharges have gone through the roof in recent months as the price of oil took off with a vengeance in February and has since kept rising to well above the US$130 per barrel mark.

“Swissport operates thousands of vehicles and energy-generating facilities all over the world and these, too, have seen their fuel costs rise by up to 50 per cent over the past few months,” the Switzerland-based company explained.

On many sectors the freight rates are now significantly lower than the surcharges for security and fuel.

Other handlers have not followed suit so far, but some keep their options open.

“Unlike Swissport we have not taken a company position on this yet. This doesn’t mean that we will not do so at some point, but so far not,” commented Christine Karels, communications manager of Brussels-based Aviapartner.

Paul Keery, Swissport’s cargo vice-president for North America, said that the new surcharge would not be applied rigidly across the board.

“We have some flexibility at the local level to implement the programme in a way that makes sense,” he commented. “We’re looking at each account individually.”

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