Mumbai: The cost of exporting goods from India to the east and west coasts of South America, Central America and the Caribbean would increase by $200 (Rs8,060) per twenty-foot equivalent unit (teu) and $400 per forty-foot equivalent unit (feu) from 1 August.
A teu is the standard size of a container and is a common measure of capacity in the container business.
The world’s largest container shipping firm Maersk Line and CMA-CGM, the world’s third biggest container shipping firm, have informed customers about their decision to levy a peak season surcharge for carrying containers from Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Chennai Port, Tuticorin Port and Cochin Port.
Other global container shipping lines including CSAV, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Hapag-Lloyd and CCNI that operate services to these destinations are expected to announce a similar hike.
“It’s purely a demand and supply issue. Normally, during this time of the year, container ships go full. Since space on ships have become an issue, we are increasing the rates,” said an official with Denmark’s Maersk Line who did not want to be named.
“The peak season surcharge will be applicable during the peak season that extends up to November,” said an official with French container shipping firm CMA-CGM.
“Ocean freight rates from India to the US are also firming up due to the recent withdrawal of a service run by a consortium of shipping lines that included the state-run Shipping Corporation of India,” says Shanat Shetty, head, ocean freight service centre, India at Swiss freight forwarder Panalpina Group.
About 30-35% of India’s merchandise trade is with the US. This translates into a volume of 300,000-350,000 teus’s a year for transporting commodities such as garments, handicrafts, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, among others goods, say analysts.
The cost of transporting a teu to the US depends on the commodity being shipped.
For instance, the cost of moving a teu loaded with garments to the US range from $2,500 to $3,000 for a transit time of about 19 days.