Container shipping lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) are proposing a new series of general rate increases (GRIs) on December 1, 2009 and January 15, 2010, that will affect all dry and refrigerated cargoes to all Asia destinations. The move follows a similar schedule of GRIs that took effect last September 1, and is part of a broad effort to restore rates to more compensatory levels that will help maintain service levels in the US-Asia trade.

Effective December 1, WTSA lines have recommended increases to dry cargo rates ’ including rates for commodities exempt from tariff filing ’ in the amounts of US$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 on the US West Coast; and by $150 per FEU and $120 per TEU for all other dry cargo, including other West Coast ports, all-water shipments via the US East and Gulf Coasts, and intermodal moves.

On January 15, 2010, WTSA lines are recommending a GRI for refrigerated cargo, of $250 per FEU and by $200 per TEU for all US West Coast shipments, and by $300 per FEU and $240 per TEU for intermodal and US East/Gulf Coast all-water cargo.

‘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 US export demand and maintain adequate service levels is through improved revenues. (WTSA)