India-Europe ocean carriers raise rates again

India-Europe ocean carriers raise rates again

NEW DELHI - Major shipping lines operating between the Indian subcontinent and Europe announced they will impose a second rate increase in as many months on westbound shipments.

The India-Pakistan-Bangladesh-Ceylon conference (IPBCC) said prices on cargo moving from five Indian ports, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, North Continent, Scandinavian, Baltic and Mediterranean would increase by $150 per TEU and $300 per FEU. It said the increases were part of a rate-restoration program.

The Indian ports affected are Cochin, Chennai, Tuticorin, Kolkata and Haldia.

The increase takes effect Oct. 1. The conference, which controls 80 percent of the trade between the Indian region and Europe, previously announced a $250 freight increase on Sept. 1.

East and westbound rates have been rising steadily since early this year. The IPBCC also had raised rates by $250 a TEU in July.

The frequent freight increases is causing concern among Indian exporters, particularly those in the eastern region. Prakash Thaker, eastern region chairman of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, said shipments from east India were becoming uncompetitive because of the frequent freight increases and the strengthening rupee.

"If this trend continues, we are in for a really bad time," Thaker said. "The increase has been very sharp in the past four months."

Thaker and other trade sources said exports of steel and metal products from east India were particularly affected by the freight increases. The U.S. is a major market for Indian steel exports.

Members of the IPBCC are CMA CGM, Contship Containerlines, Ellerman, Evergreen Marine Corp., Hapag-Lloyd, "K" Line, Malaysia International Shipping Corp., Maersk Sealand, Norasia, Pakistan National Shipping Corp., P&O Nedlloyd, Rickmers Line, Safmarine, Shipping Corp. of India, United Arab Shipping Co., Yang Ming and Zim Israel Navigation.