What is a GRI in International Shipping

What is a GRI in International Shipping?

There are several different types of charges associated with international shipping. Unfortunately, you have probably grown accustomed to seeing something on your freight bills that you don’t entirely understand! It’s frustrating – we understand and sympathize with shippers who are undergoing stress from their freight bills.

Truth is, international shipping can be a tricky industry to work in. Cargo is often fingerprinted by 10+ carriers in a single journey; not to mention the border control and customs it passes through at origin and destination. Strange fees are bound to stack up from time to time, and one of those that you may encounter at some point is a GRI.

What is a GRI in International Shipping?

A GRI – otherwise known as a General Rate Increase – is an adjustment to ocean freight rates at certain times of the year on certain routes. These are most commonly influenced by supply and demand, as the fluctuation in that factor can greatly change the economic demand and impact of importing/exporting more or less of a certain type of product. Here’s how they work:

GRI’s are applied by the ocean carrier. If the market was non-volatile, these would be super predictable; probably only occurring once or twice a year in a specific date range. However, ocean shipping is a rather volatile industry, and supply/demand for it changes quickly.

Since GRI’s are applied by ocean carriers, freight forwarders are obligated to raise their prices. However, these price increases are not the result of freight forwarders choosing to apply a GRI, but rather being forced to on certain routes with certain steamship lines as a result of the ocean carrier’s GRI.

In Summary

If you are struggling to understand why you are being hit with GRI’s this season, or would just like a bit more clarity surrounding the subject, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team members! Our team is incredibly experienced in ocean shipping and we have seen plenty of GRI’s in our time. We’d be happy to answer all your questions and offer any advice that may be of use to you and your team as you navigate finding the best solution for your ocean shipping routes.

We look forward to hearing from you and your team!


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