Maersk: Peak surcharge due to box shortage
Maersk Line said Thursday its peak season surcharge announced to customers last week is mostly due to an expected surge in demand that has caused a global shortage of containers expected to last until the third quarter.
'Following the recession in the market at the end of 2008 and through 2009, many container shipping and container leasing companies stopped sourcing and producing equipment,' the line said in a statement. 'As carriers and shippers did not expect the current demand surge, the necessary equipment has not been ordered in 2010, ultimately resulting in the global shortage in equipment.
Maersk said it has already initiated production of more containers and has activated laid-up ships in North America and Latin America to bring containers back to Asia, the epicenter of the demand surge.
Maersk's peak season surcharges from Asia to Europe, as reported Monday in American Shipper, range from $600 to $1,200 per container, depending on size and destination of the container. Maersk said it will not issue any more surcharges or rate hikes on the trade.
'The surcharge will assist Maersk Line in recovering the higher costs caused by the increased volumes and equipment shortage (e.g. port costs, extraordinary vessels deployed to reposition containers and leasing of same) and ensure that Maersk Line can continue to offer its services in a sustainable manner,' the line said. 'To make it easy and transparent for our customers in this trade we are only applying one peak season surcharge and we will therefore not announce separate surcharges or rate increases in connection with the peak season.'
Lars Reno Jakobsen, head of network and product for Maersk, said demand has surged 23 percent, compared to single-digit growth projections made at the beginning of 2010.
'The present market situation is unique,' he said. 'We are experiencing a demand surge in most trades, which is a development that is both unprecedented and unexpected by us and our customers. Therefore, we already see a very tight equipment situation. And we expect an even more pronounced and serious shortage of containers in the coming months as we enter the peak season.' ' Eric Johnson