Transpacific shipping lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) are recommending an increase of $50 per 40-foot container (feu) and $40 per 20-foot container to freight rates for agricultural products, effective October 1, 2006. The increases will apply to non-seasonal shipments of meal, flour, starches, feed grains, corn products seeds and additives; and seasonal shipments of grains, soybeans, cotton products and leguminous vegetables.
WTSA said that higher rates are needed for these commodities to help recover rising costs. Agri-products exports are moving in growing volumes to Asia, particularly to China. Shipments are heavy, at times requiring special chassis equipment, routing and stowage aboard ship. The vast majority move intermodally, at a time when rail and truck costs have escalated. And equipment often requires special cleaning and maintenance in Asia. Lines said they favor an incremental approach to cost recovery, giving shippers more time to plan for and absorb increases. They will continue to monitor movements of agri-products to Asia, and are holding open the possibility of further rate adjustments as warranted.
WTSA is a voluntary discussion and research forum of 11 major container shipping lines serving the trade from ports and inland points in the US to destinations throughout Asia. Information on all recent and scheduled guideline actions adopted by WTSA can be found on the Agreement’s web site, www.wtsacarriers.org.