The member lines of the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) are seeking once again to boost freight rates for cargoes moving from the U.S. to Asia. The latest series of general rate increases, to take effect Dec. 1, 2009 and Jan. 15, 2010, will affect all dry and refrigerated categories, the group said. Its most recent series of GRIs in the westbound trade took place Sept. 1.
The recommended Dec. 1 action calls for increases of $100 per 40-foot container (FEU) and $80 per 20-foot container (TEU) for cargo originating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. At the same time, the lines are looking for increases of $150 per FEU and $120 per TEU for all other dry cargo, including movements from other West Coast ports, all-water shipments via the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, and intermodal moves.
For Jan. 15, the lines are calling for a GRI on refrigerated cargoes of $250 per FEU and $200 per TEU for all shipments originating on the U.S. West Coast, and $300 per FEU and $240 per TEU for intermodal as well as all-water cargoes moving from the U.S. East and Gulf coasts.
WTSA members say the increases are needed to maintain service levels in the U.S.-Asia trade. "Trans-Pacific carriers continue to see their fixed operating costs rise as freight rates decline in both directions," said executive administrator Brian M. Conrad. "The headhaul trade from Asia can't subsidize the outbound segment, credit remains tight and lines have already scaled back on vessels, port calls, routes and back-office functions.
"The only way carriers can survive financially, meet rising U.S. export demand and maintain adequate service levels is through improved revenues," Conrad added.
WTSA is a voluntary organization consisting of 10 container-shipping lines, who are not bound to follow the group's recommendations.
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