Australia's ANL Lines said shipments transiting the U.S. West Coast from and to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will be exempt from its surcharge
on inbound or outbound cargo at U.S. ports that will kick in Oct. 5 if there is a disruption of dock labor that shuts down or reduces productivity at ports on the East and Gulf coasts.
Negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, which represents terminal operators, have stalled with less than three weeks until the existing master contract governing container handling for each local bargaining unit expires on Sept. 30. ILA leaders have threatened to strike if their demands to limit automated cargo handling, and retain existing work rules, jurisdiction over chassis maintenance, and the per-box royalty system aren't met. But cargo handling could also be disrupted by a management lockout or slow-work protests.
All but one international carrier serving the U.S. market has set up a surcharge schedule to recover costs from anticipated port congestion on the West Coast and elsewhere as shippers divert cargo to avoid having their cargo stuck at sea or in port in the event eastern ports are shut for business.
ANL's port congestion surcharge, which also applies to sister non-vessel-operating common carrier U.S. Lines, will remain in place for all other trade lanes to and from Oceania. The Australian carrier said it still reserves the right to charge fees associated with its right to alter the delivery destination as it deems necessary, but would not levy a surcharge for port congestion under those circumstances.
ANL stressed that surcharge notice is precautionary and would not be implemented if there is no labor disruption. - Eric Kulisch
(CORRECTION: Wednesday's newswire story about port-congestion surcharges drawn up by ANL/U.S. Lines in the event of a U.S. labor disruption that impacts cargo flows incorrectly identified U.S. Lines as a non-vessel operating common carrier. U.S. Lines, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is a ship operator with seven services to the U.S. East and West coasts.)