American Shipper

COSCO plans major TP congestion fee

   COSCO Container Lines said Monday it will assess a port congestion surcharge on eastbound transpacific cargo from Oct. 1.
   The surcharge, $800 per 20-foot container and $1,000 per 40-foot container, could well be related to a possible port strike at U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports from Sept. 30.
   Union longshoremen at those ports are locked in tense contract negotiations with their employers, with union leaders suggested a work stoppage is possible.
   On Friday, American Shipper reported NYK Line intended to assess a similar fee if East and Gulf coast ports were shuttered.
   COSCO didn’t specifically say its fee hinges on an actual work stoppage. Carriers may well be worried about congestion at ports not impacted by the negotiations if shippers are induced to divert cargo away from the U.S. East Coast merely by the threat of a strike.
   American Shipper research shows that around 57 percent of shippers plan to divert cargo to U.S. West Coast or east coast Canadian ports.
   The fee is slightly higher for 40-foot high-cube container ($1,125) and 45-foot containers ($1,266). It applies to cargo arriving at all U.S. and Canadian ports. – Eric Johnson