COPENHAGEN, July 16 Container shipping companies
were urged to raise Asia-U.S. freight rates by at least $600 per
40-foot container (FEU) with effect from Aug. 1, their
organisation TSA said on Wednesday.
Members of the TSA (Transpacific Stabilization Agreement)
include 15 of the world's biggest container shipping lines such
as Denmark's Maersk Line, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk
, privately owned Switzerland-based Mediterranean
Shipping Company (MSC), French privately held CMA CGM, China's
COSCO, Korea's Hanjin Shipping and
According to TSA, members are seeing sustained third-quarter
cargo demand across major commodity segments.
Spot freight rates are calculated and published every week
by Shanghai Shipping Exchange. Last week rates for transport of
40-foot containers from Asia to U.S. West Coast stood at $3,648.
TSA said cost-cutting had been at the heart of carrier
strategies in recent years, but that lines needed a rate
structure that would encourage investment, draw equipment back
into the market, cover rising inland transport and
cargo-handling costs and enable carriers to broaden service
"Given current rate levels, TSA members believe that $600
per FEU is the minimum needed to meet those objectives," Brian
Conrad, TSA executive administrator, said in a statement.
Freight rates plunged to unprofitable levels for most
carriers in 2013 as a result of overcapacity in the market.
Founded in 1989, the TSA calls itself a "research and
discussion forum of major container shipping lines" serving the
trade from Asia to the United States.
Liner shipping was previously organised in similar groups
called "liner conferences", which met to discuss market
conditions, freight rates and other common concerns.
But the European Union decided in 2006 to ban the practice
due to competition rules, and the ban took effect in 2008.
(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; editing by Jane Baird)