CMA CGM, ramping up pressure from carriers to push up beaten-down revenue, today confirmed it will apply a previously announced peak-season surcharge of $150 per 20-foot container on shipments from Asia to Europe starting Aug. 1.
The French carrier said it is imposing the surcharge “in view of the strong market conditions prevailing on the Asia-Europe trade” and would keep it in force for as long as market conditions justify it.
The surcharge is in addition to the increase of $300 per TEU in the base freight rate that the carrier imposed on June 1, following similar increases by other major lines, including Maersk Line.
At the time it announced its June 1 rate increase, CMA CGM said it planned to impose a peak-season surcharge if conditions warranted.
It also began to invoice its shippers on July 1 for a higher bunker adjustment factor in the Asia-Europe trade separately from the freight rate, which it increased from $281 per TEU to $333 per TEU to reflect the higher price of oil on the world market.
All carriers have been losing money in the Asia-Europe trade lane as a result of the ferocious rate war waged during the winter months.
U.S. ratings agencies have downgraded some debt obligations issued by CMA CGM and changed their ratings of the carrier to negative in view of the decline in its revenue caused by plummeting freight rates.
After downgrades of CMA CGM’s debt by Fitch Ratings on June 3 and by Standard & Poor’s in March, the carrier announced it would no longer allow its debt to be rated by the agencies, which, it said, do not understand the cyclical nature of the container shipping business. Fitch, S&P and Moody's have announced they will no longer rate the carrier's debt.
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