Port Congestion Surcharge Filings for US Inbound/Outbound Containers

As mentioned in my previous blog, the East Coast ports are in the midst of a labor dispute. With the longshoremen’s contract set to expire on September 30, 2012, many in the shipping community are bracing themselves for a strike.

Many carriers have announced Port Congestion Surcharges (PCS) to be implemented only if a labor dispute does affect operations at the ports. Here is a list of the surcharges that we have seen carriers file thus far:

Carrier Item

20′

40′

40’HC

45’HC

UASC Port Congestion Surcharge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

n/a

Maersk Congestion Surcharge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

Cosco Congestion Surcharge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

EMC Congestion Charge At POD

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

NYK Port Congestion Surcharge

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

Hanjin Port Congestion Surcharge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

K Line Congestion Surcharge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

YML Port Congestion Charge

$800

$1,000

$1,125

$1,266

HMM Port Congestion Surcharge

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

Matson Port Congestion Surcharge

$500

$500

$500

$500

What many in the shipping community may not be aware of is that the way the PCS was filed by many carriers, it sounds like the surcharge may be applicable to ALL US inbound and outbound cargo if a port-strike occurs. My initial thought when I first heard about the PCS was that it would be applicable only to US East Coast containers that were passing through the US East Coast ports. However if I am reading the PCS correctly, the carriers will charge the PCS to containers passing through all US ports (West Coast included). This makes some sense as we have already seen various customers begin to divert their US East Coast containers away from all-water service to East Coast Ports. They have begun to book these containers via rail service through the US West Coast. In the likelihood of a port strike, there is bound to be congestion on the West Coast.

Importers and exporters alike should be preparing themselves for the likelihood of the strike as well as the resulting surcharge.

-Jimmy Ting

jimmyting@great-world.com

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