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Transpacific carriers seek $400 peak season surcharge

   The 15 container shipping lines that belong to the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) on Monday announced a “guideline” peak season surcharge of $400 per 40-foot container from Asia to all U.S. destinations, effective Aug. 1.
   They also indicated recommendations for further rate increases may be forthcoming.
   The carriers announced the peak season surcharge on the day, July 1, that their latest recommended general rate increase (GRI) of $400 per 40-foot container for cargo moving from Asia to the U.S. West Coast came into effect. The GRI is $600 per 40-foot container moving from Asia to the U.S. East Coast and other parts of the country.
   On Friday, it appeared the Shanghai Container Freight Index moved upwards to reflect the July 1 GRI. The index estimated port rates from Shanghai to the U.S. West Coast rose 15 percent to $2,114 per 40-foot container, and from Shanghai to the U.S. East Coast increased 13 percent to $3,361 per 40-foot container.
   TSA said its members “reported gains from the most recent round of Asia-U.S. freight rate increases taken on July 1, but said results still fall short of overall revenue objectives for 2013-14 service contracts, so they will be weighing the need for further initiatives later this summer.”
   “Positive signals on consumer confidence for second-half 2013, and healthy consumer spending data in the second quarter, suggest a likely bump for Asian imports in coming months,” TSA said. Its members “are preparing for a potentially healthy peak season” and planning “individual vessel and equipment allocations to meet back-to-school and holiday retail cargo demand.”
   “It is hard to say at this point what the size and the timing of the peak will be, but lines are expecting a defined peak period and want to be prepared,” said TSA Executive Administrator Brian Conrad. “That means having the necessary vessel and equipment assets in place, the right mix of services, and their costs adequately covered to quickly address contingencies.”
   In mid-June, Shen Danyang, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said China will have to overcome difficulties to achieve the 8-percent foreign trade growthtarget set for 2013.
   China’s People’s Daily reported that Shen said exports were up just 1 percent in May, a sharp slowdown in foreign trade growth that “reflects the grim and complicated trade outlook.”
   Shen said “Generally speaking, China’s foreign trade growth outlook this year will be relatively severe.”
   Countries included in TSA’s scope are the United States, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Russian Far East.
   TSA members are APL, China Shipping, CMA CGM, Cosco, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai, “K” Line, Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co., NYK, OOCL, Yang Ming, and Zim. – Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.