Container shipping lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have individually announced general rate increases on refrigerated cargo moving from the U.S. to Asia. The increases are $1,500 per 40-foot container, with proportionate increases for other equipment sizes.
The carriers’ actions follow Maersk Line’s announcement in September that it was increasing its reefer rates by $1,500 per FEU worldwide. The WTSA members’ increases were filed in their individual tariffs, with slightly differing effective dates in early January. The increases will apply to all commodities, origins and destinations.
The WTSA cited “a sustained erosion of freight rates in the trade affecting a market segment where equipment, operations and handling are all entail specialized expertise and high costs.”
“These actions are consistent with adjustments taken not only in the westbound transpacific market but in other trade lanes as well,” said WTSA executive administrator Brian M. Conrad. “Refrigerated service represents a significant commitment and investment by ocean carriers, to provide an alternative to far more expensive airfreight shipment for fresh meats and produce, plasma and medicines, and other sensitive commodities. The underlying cost and value of the service is clear, and current rates seriously undermine roundtrip profitability.”
The WTSA is a discussion agreement whose members have antitrust authority to set voluntary rate guidelines but not to collectively set rates. WTSA members are Cosco, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, OOCL and Yang Ming.