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Increase Is Urged in Asia-to-U.S. Container Shipping Rates

Container shipping companies were urged to raise Asia-U.S. freight rates by at least $600 per 40-foot container (FEU) with effect from Aug. 1, their organization TSA said on Wednesday.

Members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement include 15 of the world's biggest container shipping lines, such as Denmark's Maersk Line, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk; privately owned Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC); French privately held CMA CGM; China's COSCO; Korea's Hanjin Shipping; and others.

According to TSA, members are seeing sustained third-quarter cargo demand across major commodity segments.

Spot freight rates are calculated and published every week by Shanghai Shipping Exchange. The previous week's rates for transport of 40-foot containers from Asia to U.S. West Coast stood at $3,648.

TSA said cost-cutting had been at the heart of carrier strategies in recent years, but that lines needed a rate structure that would encourage investment, draw equipment back into the market, cover rising inland transport and cargo-handling costs and enable carriers to broaden service offerings.

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