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Ocean carriers to apply a port congestion surcharge in case of US west coast port unrest


MONTREAL, Que.–US West Coast ports are bracing for a potential strike when the 6-year contract between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents labour in 29 West Coast ports, and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the carriers & terminals, is set to expire at midnight on June 30, 2014.

Contract negotiations began on May 12, 2014, and industry sources reported that negotiations started on a good note with both sides stating that they expect import-export cargo to keep moving throughout the negotiation process. While the Industry remains hopeful for a resolution, there is a possibility that labour unrest or strike action may cause port congestion and potentially disrupt normal levels of operations at U.S. West Coast ports as well as other North American ports facing re-routed shipments, said a Delmar customer notice. 

Ocean carriers have announced their intentions to apply a Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) that would be assessed during any such period of labour unrest. This surcharge will be applied to all shipments destined for or originating in the United States, including shipments to/from Canada and Mexico, the notice advised. 

The amounts of the surcharge are as follows and are applicable to both dry and reefer shipments:

USD 25.00 per cbm or 500 kg

USD 800 per 20’ container

USD 1000 per 40’ container

USD 1125 per 40’HC container

USD 1266 per 45’HC container

The carriers have advised that should there be no labour action and subsequent congestion disrupting operations, this surcharge shall not be applicable.

Delmarsaid it would continue to monitor the situation and advise customers of any further developments, said the notice.