Transpacific Stabilization Agreement to raise rates in 2011
November 22, 2010 - LM Editorial
Ocean carriers comprising the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) have announced that rates will be hiked by a significant margin next year.
According to cartel spokesmen, “suggested” rate increases of $400 per 40-foot container (FEU) for cargo moving to U.S. West Coast ports and $600 per FEU for all other cargo are likely to be imposed by May 1, 2011.
“It is unfortunate that this is being done before there can be any change to the Shipping Act,” said Michael Berzon, out-going chairman of the National Industrial League’s (NITL) ocean cargo committee.
“Carriers can raise rates in lockstep now, without any concern that such behavior represents a violation of anti-trust laws.”
TSA lines have further recommended full recovery of costs for other equipment sizes, and improved collection of floating bunker and inland fuel charges as well as Panama Canal, Alameda Corridor and other fixed accessorial charges.
This comes at a time when the cartel admits that it has had “healthy revenues” over the past two quarters. Still, they say, an early end to the transpacific peak season has left that trade lane lagging relative to other Asia container markets, while operating costs continue to rise.
Carriers called for adjustments to store-door delivery rates as warranted, to levels that adequately compensate carriers for rising costs in providing those services. Finally, TSA is recommending a peak season surcharge of $400 per FEU, effective from June 15, 2011 through November 30, 2011, with those dates subject to adjustment based on changing market conditions.
As reported in LM, the NITL maintains that the current U.S. shipping regulatory system today does not work in the best interests of U.S. businesses that are required to compete in the global market. The League said H.R. 6167 was an “appropriate” first step toward achieving a more robust, competitive and efficient maritime industry. It also added that the bill, “seeks to address recent problems faced by importers and exporters in enforcing service contract obligations in a timely and cost effective manner.”
Berzon said in a subsequent interview that with a “lame duck” Congress, there is scant chance that such legislation will be enacted this year.