Hapag-Lloyd said Friday it will increase its port congestion surcharge on containers moving to and from Port of Chennai, and Maersk Line added its own surcharges at India’s second-largest port.
Chennai has been plagued over the past two months by delays caused by terminal congestion amid surging volume and trucking problems. The situation was aggravated by a mid-August truckers’ strike that lasted four days, paralyzing cargo movements and creating a huge yard inventory.
Effective Oct. 1, both inbound and outbound traffic on Hapag-Lloyd ships will attract a surcharge of $100 per 20-foot container, up from the current $50 per 20-foot equivalent container unit on export shipments and $65 per TEU on import consignments.
Maersk Line issued a trade notice with surcharges of $90 per TEU and $180 per FEU on all shipments routed via terminals in Chennai. Its surcharges are slated to take effect Sept. 20 on Chennai-U.S. trades and Sept. 23 on other trade lanes.
“Due to heavy congestion at Chennai Port over the last couple of weeks and with no significant improvement in the current situation leading to mounting costs, we are implementing a congestion surcharge for all export/import cargo bound to Chennai,” Maersk said.
Similar surcharge notices have also been issued by Mediterranean Shipping Company and ANL Container Line, citing increased congestion and delays.
According to the latest update from port sources, the terminal yard inventory held more than 19,000 TEUs, mostly imports, as of Friday morning.
Container traffic at Chennai surged 26 percent year-over-year to a record 1.52 million TEUs in fiscal 2011 ended March 31.