Thursday, 17 June 2010

Maersk to use laid-up ships to ferry boxes to China

Maersk Line is bringing in laid-up ships to ferry containers to Asia in an attempt to address the box shortage that is set to hamper the industry during the peak season.

The Danish carrier said it had re-activated laid-up vessels to assist in repositioning containers as quickly as possible.

It has also kickstarted production of new containers and leasing of containers.

Because of the extra costs associated with combating the container shortage, Maersk last week announced a record peak-season surcharge (PSS) of US$750 per 20ft, $1,000 per 40ft and $1,200 per 40ft high-cube container on westbound services to Northern Europe from 15 July.

On westbound services to the Mediterranean, the surcharge will be $600 per 20ft, $800 per 40ft and $1,000 per 40ft high-cube.

The line said: “The surcharge will assist Maersk Line in recovering the higher costs caused by the increased volumes and equipment shortage, for example, port costs, vessels deployed to reposition containers and leasing [more containers].”

Board member Lars Reno Jakobsen, Head of Network and Product, said: “The present market situation is unique. We are experiencing a demand surge in most trades, which is a development that is both unprecedented and unexpected by us and our customers.

“For example, the Asia-Europe trade is growing by 23%, compared with the market’s single-digit expectation just six months ago.

“Therefore, we already see a very tight equipment situation. And we expect an even more pronounced and serious shortage of containers in the coming months, as we enter the peak season.”

The Danish carrier said the shortage stemmed from a lack of orders for new containers during and following the recession.

Maersk said it would only apply one PSS during the peak season to make the situation more transparent for customers.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that two deepsea carriers are looking to introduce equipment re-positioning surcharges because of a shortage of containers.

Over recent weeks, forwarders and shipping lines have been warning that there could be an equipment shortage during the peak season.

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