A Port Shark refers to a freight agent who acts as a deconsolidation agent to facilitate unpacking of ea freight containers once they arrive at a UK port. This agent then charges a terminal handling fee from each importer who has a cargo in that container. This market is highly unregulated, with many agents holding importers hostage and extorting absurdly high fees from them.
There are some honest freight agents in the market who charge a fair fee from importers for these services. However, if you're surprised to see any of the above charges appear in your invoice, you might be dealing with a Port Shark.
These terms mean that the UK importer trusts the overseas supplier to arrange and pre-pay all charges to the UK (often to a named UK Port). With CIF, it also means that the supplier is arranging insurance as well.
These terms are commonly misunderstood and are an expensive shipping mistake most new UK importers make. It is often wrongly assumed that these terms include the UK Terminals which isn't the case as the supplier only pays up to the arrival in UK Port / Airport.
UK Terminal fees is an "unregulated market" where importers are often held to ransom and have no choice except to pay the amount demanded by the "Port Sharks" for release of their cargo. New overseas suppliers try to tempt UK importers with very low shipping rates, which are included in their quotations. It is so because unknown to the UK importer the supplier gets a hidden commission paid back to him from the local freight agent.
Unfortunately, there's very little that you can do since this is an extremely unregulated market. Once the port shark has your goods, he is very unlikely to release your goods unless you pay the sky high prices that he demands. Since the port shark has your goods in his warehouse, he assumes that he can charge whatever he likes. However, there are some strategies which we have used on many occasions to enables our clients to save hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Make sure to appoint a reputable UK shipping company to avoid such scams. Ensure that you agree upon the total shipment cost to your door with FOB or ExWorks Shipping terms.