Australia's ANL Lines, part of the CMA CGM group, has notified customers
of a pending surcharge of $1,000 for a standard 40-foot container, if a strike or other labor disruption takes place by dockworkers at U.S. East Coast and Gulf ports.
The fee will be $800 for a 20-foot container.
ANL joins at least half-a-dozen other container lines
that have publicly announced similar cost-recovery mechanisms. The bulk of major container carriers have indicated they will assess a surcharge if a strike occurs, according to logistics industry sources.
ANL said the port congestion surcharge will go into effect Oct. 5, compared to other carriers that plan to start charging on Oct. 1.
ANL said it will not impose the surcharge if East Coast ports continue to operate normally.
Under federal regulation, carriers must provide 30-days notice of a surcharge.
The International Longshoremen's Association and marine terminal operating companies are at a standoff in negotiations on a long-term master contract, which expires on Sept. 30. The lack of progress on a new labor pact has shippers working to implement contingency plans, which include accelerating shipment of inventory prior to a possible port shutdown and rerouting cargo to other ports. The unexpected increase in volume through other ports will compete for capacity on vessels, railroads and highways, leading to potential delays and idle assets, storage requirements and other costs that carriers say they plan to pass onto customers. - Eric Kulisch