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TSA Hikes Container Surcharge On Asia-US Routes

by Amanda Banks,, London

08 June 2006

The price of container shipments passing through the Panama Canal en route from Asia to the eastern seaboard of the United States will rise later this year when members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement carrier group increase their surcharges.

In a statement, TSA revealed that its member lines would raise a planned peak season surcharge of $400 per 40-foot container (FEU) from Asia to the U.S. East Coast and U.S. Gulf Coast to $500, effective July 15, and to $600 from August 15 until November 15, 2006.

The increased charge will apply to all containers moved through the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal.

The planned $400 surcharge for West Coast shipments will remain in place for the entire June 15-November 30 period.

TSA Executive Director Albert Pierce explained that demand for cargo space has soared in recent years, meaning that there is very little spare cargo capacity on trans-Pacific routes.

"The industry expected Asia-U.S. cargo growth to moderate last year and it exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts," he observed.

“The trade has now seen four record years of mostly double-digit growth. Vessel space is still tight, terminal and rail improvements are still far from completion, equipment turn times are still slow and carriers are concerned; they’re not taking anything for granted," Mr Pierce added.

He went on to note that first quarter 2006 container volumes from Asia totaled 1.4 million FEU, up 9.8% from the same period in 2005, and China cargo was up nearly 15%.

Third quarter peak season Asia-U.S. traffic exceeded first quarter levels by 28% in 2005 and 19.9% in 2004.

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement is a research and discussion forum of 12 major ocean container shipping lines that carry cargo from Asia to ports and inland points in the U.S.

The TSA membership includes: American President Lines, Ltd.; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line); COSCO Container Lines, Ltd.; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.; Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan), Ltd.; Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line); Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd.; Orient Overseas Container Line, Inc.; Hapag Lloyd Container Linie; Yangming Marine Transport Corp.; Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.

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