Bust-Up Over Bunker

Bust-Up Over Bunker

Shippers and carriers attending the TSA meeting in Long Beach disagree about the level of bunker surcharges.

With bunker fuel prices pushing $640 per metric ton in the wake of Libya’s near-civil war, carriers are determined to recover the cost through surcharges.

One shipper questioned whether the formula set in 2008 as a recommendation to the TSA’s members was fair given that almost all carriers adopted slow-steaming on east-west lanes in 2009, enabling them to burn up to 50 percent less fuel while capturing the full price through the TSA formula.

“Who knew whether the carriers were making a small profit on the surcharge?” Audiovox’s Pat Moffatt asked.

The TSA is accelerating development of a new formula for its bunker adjustment factor that will account for slow-steaming while enabling carriers to collect the cost of rising fuel prices, TSA Executive Administrator Brian Conrad said. The new formula should be ready in four to six weeks, he said.