US-Asia container shipping lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) have scheduled rate increases for miscellaneous cargo not otherwise specified (NOS) for adjustments under commodity-specific rate programs, and for mixed ‘freight-all-kinds’ (FAK) cargo, effective April 1, 2007.

Increases for both cargo categories have been set at US$50 per 40-foot container (feu) and $40 per 20-foot container (teu) for West Coast port-to-port and East Coast all-water shipments from the U.S. to Asia, and US$300 per feu and $240 per teu for inland point and minilandbridge intermodal cargo, whether via truck or rail. For cargo moving on the basis of a West Coast rate plus inland add-on, West Coast rates are to be increased by $50 per feu and inland add-ons are to be increased by $250 per feu.

WTSA lines also agreed to a voluntary guideline that, effective no later than January 1, 2008, bunker surcharges in new cargo NOS/FAK contracts are to be increased by at least $90 per feu from current levels ’ up to but not exceeding the full WTSA official formula level on the effective date of the new contract ’ with bunker surcharges broken out from base rates and adjusted monthly per the WTSA formula, in accordance with fuel price fluctuations.

Carriers indicated that the planned rate increases, and changes to the bunker surcharge, are intended to address significantly higher operating costs expected during 2007-08 for cargo handling at US ports, inland rail and truck charges, and equipment repositioning, along with anticipated fuel price volatility over time.