A leading shipping industry association is warning that a proposed carbon tax on fuel will lead to higher container freight rates that could suppress demand for world trade.

The Global Shippers Forum (GSF) fears cargo owners could be forced to shoulder a rash of new surcharges if there is agreement to introduce a carbon tax on bunker fuel.

“Shippers will be forgiven for thinking that the proposal ... will inevitably result in still higher freight rates,” said GSF Director James Hookham.