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Maersk Line has hiked freight rates to the US from India following a drop in export volumes but industry maintains the hike will not be implemented

Maersk Line, one of the world’s largest shipping lines, has announced increase in freight rates by 300 US dollars per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) and 400 US dollars per forty-foot equivalent unit from January 1.

Other lines are likely to follow suit to meet operational costs and offset losses due to lower export cargo volumes, said sources.

Industry sources said it has become regular customs for the liners to announce increase in freight rates two to three times a year but the hikes will remain on paper. Sources said in all likelihood there will be negotiated settlement between the liners and the shippers accepting a modest increase in freight.

Export volumes from India to the US dropped post Christmas season shipments, warranting shipping lines to increase freight rates. Every year, Christmas season shipments from India take place between August and October so that products are available in the US markets on time for Christmas and New Year.

After a robust shipment prior to Christmas, there has been a lull in export volumes in the last two months, forcing shipping lines to increase freight rates. The drop in export volume is estimated at around 30 per cent.

The freight rate for a TEU to a port in the US East Coast from Chennai is around $1,000. The industry sources expressed confidence that the rates may not change despite the announcement. Exports to the United States from India went up by nearly ten per cent during the last two years.


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