Maersk slaps congestion surcharge at US ports

Wednesday, 2 January 2013 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping line, has issued an advance notice to implement a congestion surcharge at the US ports where workers threatened to go on strike from 30 December demanding contract negotiations.

Effective 14 January, Maersk will charge $ 320 for 20-feet container (TEU) and $ 400 for 40-feet container (FEU) from anywhere in the world to the US west coast ports. In the reverse direction, effective 21 January, the rate will be $ 800/TEU and $ 1,000/FEU, says a trade communication issued by Maersk North America.

Maersk said the forward filing for the surcharge was a precaution to address the potential for congestion as result of possible labour actions. Should there be no labour action and subsequent congestion disrupting operations, this tariff filing will be nullified, the line said.

With contract negotiations at an impasse, the International Longshoremen’s Association had directed ILA locals to prepare for a 30 December strike on the East and Gulf Coast ports.

The ILA, AFL-CIO is the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing over 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major US rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada.

Though there is no official data, trade sources said that from Chennai, garment accounts for over 30 per cent of the export to the US followed by granite, reefer and general cargo.