The prices of imported and other consumer products will “surge” in an already heavily burdened by inflation European market, with whatever this may mean for the Eurozone economy, and for the whole of European trade.

With Houthi attacks continuing on tankers and cargo ships, shipping is working on its temporary plan for the next day and crisis management.

In his letter to Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the president of Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Vassilis Korkidis, says hikes on transit costs will ultimately be paid by the consumer, highlighting the “domino” effect higher freight rates, surcharges, delays of deliveries, will have on the economy.

The president of PCCI noted that under the union customs code, a) the freight and b) insurance premiums of the goods are added to the customs value, i.e. CIF prices. This provision is based on the agreement on the implementation of article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

“The chamber believes immediate measures should be taken at a central European level so that, with appropriate directives, goods transported from Asia to Europe by ships circumnavigating Africa may not be subject to customs and tax charges at 100% of the current, and ever-increasing, rates, but be reduced to a percentage corresponding to the average levels of rates that would be paid when ships normally transit the Suez Canal,” reads the letter of PCCI.

PCCI proposes a “type of ceiling” to be applied to the charges of freight rates, based on the prices of December 12, 2023 for as long as the war in the Red Sea lasts.

According to the official data shared by international and Greek shipping companies for the first fortnight of 2024, the monthly freight rate increases already show a tripling for Mediterranean ports and doubling for Northern European ports.

As it is reported, the data for the port of Piraeus show reductions in all levels with -45% on loaded import containers, -14% on loaded export and -20% on uploads.