Supply Chain News / Ocean / Ports

Carriers Warn of Port Congestion Charges

September 12, 2012

Forwarder A.N. Deringer has advised shippers and consignees that ocean carriers have begun quoting rates as much as 50 percent higher than August 2012 levels for mini-landbridge service.

Cargo will be subject to port congestion charges at U.S. and Canadian ports if any labor unrest occurs, said Deringer. This includes strikes, lock-outs, work stoppages, or slowdowns. “The charge will only be instituted in the case of a work disruption; however, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has voted in favor of a strike if an agreement is not reached by the contract’s expiry on September 30,” noted Deringer.

The most common congestion charges for dry and reefer shipments are quoted below as $800 for a 20-foot container, $1,000 for a 40-foot standard container, $1,125 for a high-cube 40-foot container and $1,266 for a 45-foot container.

Complicating matters, some shippers are diverting cargo to the U.S. West Coast where the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are in contract negotiations with the Office Workers Unit. The union and management negotiating the contract issued a joint statement that has been viewed as “promising.”

On the Great Lakes, where ports are also represented by the International Longshoremen’s Association, the ILA’s John Baker notes the Great Lakes District Council is under a separate contract which expires at the end of the year. Baker said the Great lakes District Council has sent out notices to carriers that it wants to begin talks before the end of the Great Lakes shipping season. Though very little container traffic moves on the Great Lakes compared with the East and Gulf Coasts, no disruptions are anticipated.

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