Beginning Jan. 1, intermodal shippers in the trans-Pacific will be assessed a single, consolidated surcharge that includes components for low-sulfur fuel burned within 200 miles of the North American coast and long-haul intermodal fuel costs passed on by inland transportation providers.
The single charge is intended to simplify what is now a three-tiered intermodal fuel surcharge that is based on U.S. Department of Energy weekly on-highway diesel fuel prices and the BNSF Railway formula for fuel surcharges paid under intermodal contracts with ocean carriers.
The announcement Tuesday by the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a discussion group of 15 carriers in the eastbound Pacific, noted that fuel-related charges by member lines are posted on the TSA Web site. Fuel surcharges for the quarter beginning Jan. 1 will be posted in the coming week to provide the trade with at least 30 days’ advance notice.
Current intermodal surcharges in the Asia-U.S. trade are based upon destinations within the U.S. The “West Coast/Group 4” charge is for short-haul inland moves in the harbor areas and throughout western coastal states.
An East and Gulf Coast reverse inland point intermodal (RIPI) charge is levied on short-haul inland moves from the East and Gulf coasts. A long-haul inland point intermodal (IPI) charge is intended to recover long-haul rail fuel surcharges via the West Coast.
Effective Jan. 1, the TSA will drop the Group 4 and RIPI tiers for the intermodal fuel surcharge. The single, long-haul intermodal tier will become an intermodal component to the TSA guideline bunker charge. The intermodal component will only be applied to long-haul inland point destinations and to mini-landbridge shipments from Asia through the West Coast to East Coast destinations.
As a result, TSA’s bunker charge will be expressed in three parts: West Coast/Group 4, East Coast and Gulf/RIPI and West Coast intermodal.
The TSA stated that for the three months beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the West Coast intermodal bunker charge would be $933 per 40-foot container, including a $538 marine bunker charge, a $15 low-sulfur component and a $380 intermodal component.
“Rather than have multiple, confusing charges that are negotiated separately, carriers felt it would be in the best interests of the trade as a whole to develop and assess a single, simplified charge that focuses on the area of greatest cost impact, long-haul intermodal rail fuel charges,” said Brian Conrad, TSA’s executive director.