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Signals™ Headlines - December 3, 2014

FMC Warns Carriers on Port Congestion Surcharges

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has warned ocean carriers that port congestion surcharges that increase costs to shippers may not be effective earlier than 30 days after their publication in carrier tariffs, and may not be imposed on shipments already in transit. FMC has received many inquiries regarding the congestion surcharges for “labor unrest” announced in November by several ocean carriers serving the Trans Pacific trades.

In a recent news release, the Commission reminded carriers that tariff rules must be clear and definite as to the implementation and termination of any surcharge based upon specific criteria related to labor unrest. Carriers that attempted to impose port congestion surcharges on shipments already in transit have abandoned these attempts after warnings from FMC and resistance by shippers. The FMC is carefully reviewing congestion surcharge rules published in carrier tariffs and is demanding information directly from carriers regarding implementation of these surcharges.

The Shipping Act and the Commission’s regulations as provided in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (46 CFR Part 502.7) require that the tariff rules, rates and surcharges applicable to any given shipment shall be those in effect on the date the cargo is received by the common carrier or its agent. Thus, if labor disruption were to occur at a port after cargo was tendered by a shipper, the carrier may only lawfully charge the rates and surcharges in effect on the day the cargo is tendered at the origin port or point as indicated on the carrier’s bill of lading.

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Members of the U.S./Australasia Discussion Agreement File General Rate Increases

Carrier members of the United States/Australasia Discussion Agreement, FMC Agreement No. 011117, whose member carriers serve the USA/Australia and New Zealand trade lanes, filed General Rate Increases (GRIs), effective December 1, 2014. Members Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg Sud and ANL Singapore updated their FMC tariffs to reflect GRIs in the amount of USD 300 per FEU for cargo moving from or via the US West Coast, with all other sizes per usual formula. Maersk Line is no longer a member of this discussion agreement, but filed a similar GRI in its FMC tariff, effective December 6, 2014. Maersk’s GRI will be USD 300 per FEU, effective December 6, 2014, for cargo moving from or via the US West Coast and Alaska, with other container other sizes per its usual formula.

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Alameda Corridor Charges Increase Effective January 1, 2015

Several carriers have updated their FMC tariffs to increase the Alameda Corridor Charge (ACC) effective January 1, 2015. The new ACC amounts filed by K Line, NYK Line, and Yang Ming Marine effective January 1, 2015 are USD 23 per 20’, USD 46 per 40’HC, and USD 52 per 45’. Other carrier serving the trade between Asia and the USA are likely to follow suit in due course. These increases reflect charges imposed by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) on all cargo moving via rail through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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Transpacific Eastbound Carriers Adjust Surcharges for 1st Quarter and File New GRI

Carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223 serving the East Asia/USA trade lanes, have adjusted bunker surcharges (BAF) effective January 1, 2015. The inland fuel charges will decrease to USD 332 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU). The Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) on shipments from Japan will decrease from 10% to 7%. BAF effective January 1 are as follows:

To US Atlantic/Gulf Coast Ports * (decreased)
To US Pacific Coast Ports * (decreased)
USD 861 per 40ft ctr ( ↓ ) ; USD 775 per 20ft ctr ( ↓ )
USD 444 per 40ft ctr ( ↓ ) ; USD 400 per 20ft ctr ( ↓ )

BAF amounts shown with the asterisk (*) include the low-sulfur fuel component. For IPI/MLB destinations, the BAF includes both low-sulfur fuel component and the Inland Fuel Surcharge (IFC) component (**). BAF for other container sizes is as per formula. These amounts are effective thru March 31, 2015.

Several TSA carrier members who updated their FMC tariffs mid-October to reflect General Rate Increases (GRI) have now implemented these GRIs effective November 15, 2014. Several carriers implemented GRIs in the amount of USD 600 per 40’ container (FEU) for cargo moving to all USA destinations; some carriers made exceptions for cargo moving from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka to the U.S. by reducing the amount to USD 200 per FEU, and postponing the effective date to November 20, 2014. Hapag Lloyd has cancelled its Sub-continent GRI. The GRI amounts for all other sizes as per usual formula, though formulas for 20’ container size vary by carrier; several carriers now calculate the 20’ rate based on 90% of the 40’ rate.

Most TSA carrier members have filed another GRI effective December 15, 2014. For most carriers, the GRI amounts are USD 800/1000/1125/1266 per 20’/40’/40’HC/45’HC, respectively. This is the ninth GRI of the year for this trade lane.

The TSA’s fifteen carrier members are American President Lines, China Shipping Container Lines, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag Lloyd AG, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping, NYK Line, OOCL, Yang Ming Marine, and Zim Integrated Shipping Services. The group’s web site at www.tsacarriers.org provides additional information; however, each carrier maintains its own tariffs and controls its own pricing. The TSA Carrier group only issues recommended guidelines to its member carriers. Website addresses for all carriers are listed on www.fmc.gov.

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TSA Westbound Carriers Update Surcharges, Effective January thru March 2015

Several members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement Westbound (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, whose member carriers serve the USA/East Asia trade lanes, have adjusted their bunker surcharges (BAF) for the January to March 2015 quarter. CAF on shipments to Taiwan will remain 7%, and to Singapore 22%, thru March 31, 2015.

TSA Westbound Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) for the Jan-Mar 2015 quarter, which include the low-sulfur fuel component, are USD 944 per 20’ dry container, USD 1180 per 40’/45’ dry container, and USD 1558 per 40’/45’ reefer container for shipments from and via U.S. Atlantic/Gulf Coast Ports. BAF for shipments from or via U.S. Pacific Coast Ports will be USD 486 per 20’ dry container, USD 607 per 40’/45’ dry container, and USD 843 per 40’/45’ reefer container. The Inland Fuel Charges (IFC) for the Jan-Mar 2015 quarter will decrease to USD 332 per container for rail and intermodal rail/truck shipments and USD 96 per container for local/regional truck shipments. For more information, visit www.tsa-westbound.org.

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