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Danish carrier Maersk Line has told customers it is getting ready to levy a surcharge of US$750 (NZ$ 1,079) per TEU and a $1,000 per FEU as well as a $1,200 per 40-foot high cube surcharge on Asia-to-north Europe from July 15, citing space constraints and equipment shortages, according to the Shipping Gazette.

The report quoted Maersk as saying the container market from Asia to Europe is showing continued strong trend and is expected to extend into summer, resulting in space constraints and shortage of equipment.

European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) figures show imports into Europe increased 12% in April year on year to 1.25 million TEU. This is supported by Shanghai Containerised Freight Index numbers, which show all-in spot rates on the westbound Asia-Europe trade have reached $1,874 per TEU, on the eve of the peak season, the report adds.

Both Maersk and the French carrier CMA CGM plan to introduce equipment re-positioning surcharges because of box shortages, according to the report, citing London’s International Freighting Weekly.

Forwarders and shipping lines have been warning that there could be an equipment short falls in the peak season.

Maersk Asia-Europe’s chief Vincent Clerc was also quoted saying that the utilisation on vessels and the demand for transportation in the second quarter has been much higher than normal, which means there’s less slack in the network to accommodate for the peak that is coming.

Clerc told Reuters that that demand is up 23% year on year, suggesting carriers have been successful in not allowing capacity to outpace demand, thus keeping ships full and rates climbing.

According to American Shipper affiliate ComPair Data, there was 213,973 TEU of weekly capacity on the Asia-to-northern Europe trade on June 13. That’s an increase of only 2.6% since April 1, and only 9% since January 1.

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