Hapag-Lloyd forced to increase rates

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A number of shipping companies have been forced to increase their rates as current tariffs are no longer covering costs.

Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk Line will both be increasing freight rates on main container routes in the coming months.

Hapag-Lloyd’s new tariff rates for incoming services from East Asia, based on Hong Kong to Mediterranean/Europe (westbound trade) will be £695 ($1,000) for a 20ft, £1,389 ($2,000) for a 40ft and £1,459 ($2,100) for a 40ft high cube container, as of as of 1st April 2009.

Services from Europe to Asia will also see a rates increase. It will now cost £174 ($250) for a 20ft and £347 ($500) for a 40ft container. These rates include the bunker and currency surcharge.

Further increases are planned for both these routes during the course of the year.

Rates for services from Canada, US East Coast, Gulf and Mexico to and from Europe or the Mediterranean will be raised by £111 ($160) for a 20ft and £139 ($200) for a 40ft container.

To and from the US West Coast rates will be increased by £167 ($240) for a 20ft container and £208 ($300) for a 40ft container.

For refrigerated containers rates will increase by £167 ($240) for a 20ft and £208 ($300) for a 40ft container to and from Canada, US East Coast, Gulf and Mexico.

To and from US West Coast the respective increase is £278 ($400) for a 20ft and £347 ($500) for a 40ft container.

Rates for services from Europe to Oceania (Australia/New Zealand/Pacific) will be increased by £139 ($200) for a 20ft container and £278 ($400) for a 40ft container as of 1st May 2009.

Earlier this month Maersk Line announced that it would be increasing rates, following a decline freight rates in the Europe to Asia trade during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.

However, the company said as there are now indicators demand is now growing, owing in part to the weak Sterling and Euro, it was having to raise its rates.

As of 1st March the general rate increase will be £17.3 ($25) per TEU, which will total £34.7 ($50) per TEU.

The company said: “As a result of increasing costs associated with the growing demand and to ensure sustainable freight rates, Maersk Line will enact a commodity rate increases for export cargo from Europe to Asia. The increase is also necessary to ensure that we can continue to support the trade and provide our customers with the service reliability and customer service they are accustomed to when shipping with Maersk Line”.

At the end of 2008 Maersk said it was laying up eight 6,500 TEU vessels, following changes to its Asia – Europe, Asia – Central America, and Transpacific service networks.

Michel Deleuran, head of network and product in Maersk Line, said of the decision: “In view of the market conditions, we have reached the point where laying up the eight vessels makes better economical sense than redeploying them.

“Freight rates remain under severe pressure, and in several corridors the rates do not fully cover our variable costs. Rate improvements are imperative for the industry to create a sustainable environment.”

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