Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Shippers will raise rates

MAINLY FOOD PRODUCTS Costs for transporting many agricultural items by sea from the US to Asia will go up in October because of skyrocketing fuel prices


Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), Hapag-Lloyd AG and nine other shipping lines plan to raise rates for moving grain, flour, soybeans and other farm products to Asia from the US by October because of increasing costs.

The 11-member Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement is seeking to raise its rates by US$50 for a standard 40-foot container and US$40 for standard 20-foot boxes beginning Oct. 1, the group said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

The shipping lines may make "further rate adjustments" as they try to recover costs from customers, the statement said.

Hapag-Lloyd, Japan's Nippon Yusen K.K. and other shipping

lines have reported smaller profits this year because record oil prices are increasing costs and an oversupply of vessels is causing freight rates to weaken.

"The rate increase is needed for these commodities to help recover rising costs," the group said in the statement.

"Shipments are heavy and at times require special chassis equipment, routing and stowage aboard the ship. Equipment often requires special cleaning and maintenance in Asia," it said.

In Singapore, the price of 380 Centistoke Bunker Fuel used by ships rose to a record US$365 per tonne on May 3, 27 percent more than the price of US$287.50 at the end of last year. Costs have also increased for shipping lines to move cargo on land because truckers and railways are charging more to reflect higher fuel prices.

China Shipping Group (中國海運), Cosco Container Lines Ltd, Neptune Orient Lines Ltd's APL Ltd, Hanjin Shipping Co and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co also belong to the 11-member shipping group.

Other members include Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd, Nippon Yusen,

Orient Overseas Container Line Inc and Yang Ming Marine Corp (陽明海運).

Shares of Hanjin Shipping, South Korea's largest shipping line, rose 1.4 percent to 21,300 won in Seoul. Shares of Nippon Yusen, Japan's biggest, gained 0.3 percent to ?726 in Tokyo.

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