Container shipping lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) are recommending a further general rate increase (GRI) on ocean cargo moving from the U.S. to Asia. The move is part of an ongoing effort to restore rate levels after a sharp drop in the second half of 2009. U.S.-Asia freight rates are currently at the same levels as in early 2008.
Effective April 1, 2010, WTSA carriers say they intend to raise dry cargo rates by US$300 per 40-foot container (FEU) and $240 per 20-foot container (TEU). Lines have additionally proposed that refrigerated cargo rates increase on April 1 by US$300 per FEU and $240 per TEU for U.S. West Coast cargo, and by $500 per FEU and $400 per TEU for all other cargo, including minilandbridge, inland intermodal and all-water shipments from the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts.
“Despite modest improvements in cargo demand and rates in recent months, all carriers continue to lose money in both directions between the U.S. and Asia,” explained WTSA executive administrator Brian M. Conrad. “This has put sustained pressure on the westbound backhaul segment of the market to make its full contribution to roundtrip costs, particularly given cargo imbalance, equipment repositioning and other constraints unique to the trade.”