Buoyed by positive reports on consumer confidence and spending, shipping lines that carry containerized imports from Asia announced today they plan to implement a peak-season surcharge of $400 per 40-foot container to all U.S. destinations effective Aug. 1.
This would be the second rate hike in one month in the eastbound Pacific. Some member lines of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a discussion group of 15 carriers, on July 1 implemented previously announced rate hikes as high as $400 per FEU to the West Coast and $600 per FEU to all other destinations in the U.S.
The July 1 increase was termed a general rate increase, as the peak season in the eastbound Pacific is generally considered to begin in August. Hence, the Aug. 1 rate hike, labeled a peak-season surcharge, implies that carriers incur added costs as they deploy additional resources and operate fully loaded vessels during the peak season.
According to the TSA, positive signs on consumer confidence for the second half of 2013 and healthy consumer spending that took place in the second quarter suggest that imports from Asia will build in the coming months. Carriers expect ships to fill up with back-to-school and holiday merchandise.
“It is hard to say at this point what the size and timing of the peak will be, but lines are expecting a defined peak period and want to be prepared,” said Brian Conrad, TSA executive administrator. He said that involves having the necessary vessels and equipment assets in place and the right mix of services.
Although some carriers implemented GRIs effective July 1, the results fell “far short of overall revenue objectives for 2013-14 service contracts,” Conrad said. TSA will also consider the need for additional rate hikes later this summer, he said.