Across-the-board increases recommended for dry and refrigerated cargoes to reverse downward revenue trend.

Member container lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) have moved to halt the steady erosion of rates in the US-Asia freight market in recent months, with a general rate increase (GRI) recommended to take effect September 1, 2009 for all cargoes moving to all Asian destinations.

Effective September 1, WTSA members say they intend to raise their dry cargo rates ’ including rates for commodities exempt from tariff filing ’ by US$150 per 40-foot container (FEU) and $120 per 20-foot container (TEU) from the US West Coast and by $200 per FEU and $160 per TEU for intermodal moves or all-water shipment via the US East and Gulf Coasts. Refrigerated cargo rates would be raised by $250 per FEU and $200 per TEU from the West Coast and by $300 per FEU and $240 per TEU for intermodal and for East and Gulf Coast shipments.

WTSA executive administrator Brian M. Conrad cited a steep decline in rates since the beginning of 2009 for the GRI. ‘We’ve seen cargo demand fall off steadily from the highs of last year, pulling rates down with them, from already low levels’ Conrad said. ‘Lines have made targeted efforts to raise specific rates in the past two years, but most of their energies during 2008 focused on fuel cost recovery. Now rates have eroded to a point where serious action is needed to address basic service requirements.’

WTSA is a voluntary discussion and research forum of 10 major ocean and intermodal container shipping lines serving the trade from ports and inland points in the US to destinations throughout Asia.