With negotiations due to begin May 12 on a new labor agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers, Maersk Line has told shippers they could face hefty surcharges if there is port congestion resulting from any labor-related issues.
While not specifically mentioning the ILWU contract talks, Maersk issued a customer advisory on Wednesday reminding shippers that, "As first announced on August 31, 2012, Maersk Line published a congestion surcharge in our 'World to/from U.S. Tariff' to address the potential risk of significantly increased port congestion, as result of any labor-related issues.
"Please accept this notification as a kind reminder that in the event there is congestion, causing significant disruption to our normal operations, this surcharge will be applied to all shipments destined for or originating in the United States (including those shipments transiting through Canada or Mexico)."
Maersk said the surcharges would apply to both dry and reefer shipments and would be:
- $800 per TEU of all equipment types
- $1,000 per FEU dry, reefer, flat, open-top and tank container
- $1,125 per 40-foot high cube dry and high cube reefer
- $1,266 per 40-foot pallet wide and 45-foot high cube dry
Timothy Simpson, a Maersk spokesman, said that since the congestion tariff was originally filed, "we have not faced a scenario that has deemed applying it necessary."