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More carriers add transitional fuel charges


Friday, 08 November 2019


Uncertainty remains over price as shipping lines prepare to switch to low-sulphur fuel. Carriers are hedging their costs with additional bunker levies


CMA CGM has become the latest container carrier to introduce an emergency fuel levy to cope with uncertainty over the cost of bunkers in the run-up to the introduction of the International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in January.

The low-sulphur surcharge, effective from December 1, has been calculated using the price difference between high-sulphur fuel and low-sulphur fuel average prices in October.

The “retained value” is $200 per tonne, which is then multiplied by trade coefficient, and will apply to all contracts with validity up to three months, CMA CGM said in a customer advisory.

For a 20 ft container shipped from Shanghai to Rotterdam, the additional charge works out at $120 per teu.

The move follows similar moves by other major lines in recent weeks.

German carrier Hapag-Lloyd last week introduced its own IMO 2020 Transition Charge to cope with the expected volatility of fuel prices during the changeover period as ships were bunkered with more expensive low-sulphur fuel.

Maersk is also introducing what it describes as an Environmental Fuel Fee, effective from December 1, which will apply to all spot business and contracts with validity up to three months.

The EFF tariff will be trade-specific and reflect the fuel-related cost increases that result from compliance to the IMO 2020 regulation, which will be calculated as the price difference between high-sulphur fuel and low-sulphur fuel, multiplied by a trade factor.

Maersk has not given specific pricings for its charges, but its Hamburg Süd subsidiary, which is also introducing the EFF, has listed charges for the trade lanes it covers.

These show a charge of $116 per teu for dry containers on an Asia-Mediterranean voyage and $174 per teu for a reefer box.

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