TSA says truck and driver shortages, rail and terminal congestion have pushed up intermodal rates and cargo handling costs.

Excerpt from American Shipper  |  By Chris Dupin | October 20, 2014

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a discussion agreement among 15 container carriers that handle more than 90 percent of container cargo in the transpacific trade, said that they will imposed a charge on containers moving under intermodal “store-door” delivery through rates from Asia to the U.S.

TSA said, “Congested U.S. port terminals, harbor, and over-the-road truck and driver shortages, slower trains, and longer rail terminal dwell times due to increased domestic rates have not only disrupted service but also driven intermodal rates and cargo-handling costs up sharply. Asia-U.S. container lines, still heavily reliant on intermodal service, have now been forced to respond with intermodal door delivery charges to recover those costs.”

It said most TSA lines will begin imposing charges of $100 per 40-foot container and $90 per 20-foot container, effective on or around Nov. 15,  but no later than Dec. 1.

Brian Conrad, the executive administrator of TSA, said that congestion and associated costs are the result of a convergence of factors, among them equipment interchange issues, railcar shortages, freight backup at intermodal terminals, and a shift of intermodal cargo to more costly pure-truck moves.

“These are systemic issues that will get resolved over time, but in the midst of the peak season and with demand still strong, we don’t have time,” he said. “Carriers are doing their best given the service and infrastructure constraints we see across the supply chain. For now, as we all work on solutions, the key is cost recovery.”

The TSA members are APL, China Shipping, CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk, MSC, NYK, OOCL, Yang Ming, and ZIM.