The 15 container shipping lines that are part of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement said Tuesday, beginning Jan. 1, intermodal freight shippers in the Asia-U.S. container trade will begin paying a single, consolidated bunker surcharge that incorporates components for both low-sulfur fuel burned within 200-mile coastal limits, and long-haul intermodal fuel costs passed through by inland transportation providers.
TSA said the shift to a consolidated charge will dramatically simplify how inland intermodal fuel surcharges are assessed and collected, and provide customers with greater clarity in forecasting their total freight costs.
Going forward, TSA said its bunker charge will be expressed in three parts: West Coast/Group 4; East Coast and Gulf/RIPI; and West Coast intermodal. For the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1, the West Coast Intermodal bunker charge will be $933 per 40-foot container, including a $538 marine bunker charge, a $15 low-sulfur component and a $380 intermodal component.
“Rather than have multiple, confusing charges that are negotiated separately, carriers felt it would be in the best interests of the trade as a whole to develop and assess a single, simplified charge that focuses on the area of greatest cost impact – long-haul intermodal rail fuel charges,” explained TSA executive director Brian M. Conrad. “The formula is unchanged and transparent, the costs are clear and verifiable, and carriers will no longer be chasing short-haul charges that often contribute only marginally to overall fuel cost recovery. As we see it, everyone benefits.”
TSA said fuel-related charges will be posted on its Website in the last week of November, to provide the trade with at least 30 days advance notice of any quarterly adjustment. At that time, the new bunker charge will be posted under “current charges” and will include both the low-sulfur and intermodal components incorporated into a single charge.
In addition, TSA will continue to track 13-week inland fuel prices separately on the same “surcharge calculator” page , so customers can calculate the contribution made by the intermodal component to the total bunker charge. - Chris Dupin