Gov't acts to cut war shipping cost

Starting today, government insurance company Inbal will offer coverage of shipments coming into Israel at pre-war prices in an effort to pressure international providers to lower their war-risk surcharges.

Starting today, government insurance company Inbal will offer coverage of shipments coming into Israel at pre-war prices in an effort to pressure international providers to lower their war-risk surcharges. "The paperwork has been completed," Inbal Yitzhak Klein told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday night. London-based insurance companies, including Lloyd's, had hiked the war risk surcharge about 12 days ago by about 20-fold - a move that added hundreds of dollars to the cost of bringing containers into the country, which was borne by end customers, including olim. Inbal's policy would cover the bulk of the war risk, but not all of it, Klein said, meaning that the total charge including necessary complementary coverage would be "roughly 50% or 100% more [than the pre-war level], but not 2,000%." Shipping lines would then have the option of using Inbal instead of the other companies, saving customers most of the added expense. "We don't want to compete with them. The government's role is not to provide the insurance, but to bring the prices back down," Klein said, noting that once the price drop is achieved the government will leave the business. (D.K.)