In response to the ongoing challenges posed by disruptions in key maritime routes, major container carriers have introduced a series of surcharges to offset the costs incurred during rerouting and address operational inefficiencies. The primary catalysts for these additional fees are the prolonged rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope and the fallout from disturbances in the Red Sea.
Danish shipping giant Maersk took the lead on December 21 by unveiling a “Transit Disruption Surcharge” specifically for cargo diverted from the Suez Canal. The company implemented a flat fee of USD 200 per dry twenty-foot equivalent unit (teu) with immediate effect. Additionally, Maersk introduced a “Peak Season Surcharge” scheduled to commence on January 1. This surcharge applies to cargo shipped from the Far East to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and East Coast North America. The fees associated with this surcharge are set at USD 500, USD 1,000, and USD 300 per dry teu for the respective trade routes.
Effectively, shippers transporting goods from China to Northern Europe now face an extra charge of USD 700 per teu (USD 200 transit disruption charge plus USD 500 peak season surcharge) due to Maersk’s adjustments.
French carrier CMA CGM responded by introducing 14 new “Contingency Charges” aimed at reflecting the added expenses of rerouting. Notable among these charges are USD 325 per teu for North Europe to Asia routes and USD 500 per teu for Asia to the Mediterranean routes.
Meanwhile, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) joined the fray by announcing a range of surcharges, including an unexpected “Emergency Operation Surcharge” of USD 1,200 per teu for transatlantic services covering the west Mediterranean, Adriatic, NWC/Scanbaltic routes to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. MSC’s fees also exceeded those of other carriers, with USD 1,000 per dry teu for Europe to the Indian subcontinent and USD 500 for Europe to Asia routes.
MSC cited a decline in operational efficiency due to rerouting, leading to increased costs stemming from the need for additional vessels to maintain schedules and a shortage of equipment. The newly imposed fees are intended to cover these additional costs and ensure the continuity of service.
As the global shipping industry grapples with these challenges, shippers and businesses are advised to stay informed about the evolving situation and factor in these surcharges in their financial planning.
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