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Why do freight costs

in Thessaloniki



Liner shipping companies are imposing extra charges for the transport of cargo to and from the port of Thessaloniki, citing delays in the service of their ships.

In particular, the world’s second largest liner shipping company, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has notified its customers in a note that it will apply a port congestion surcharge for all cargo to and from the port from 23 August.

The exception is cargo to and from the US, for which the surcharge will apply from 13 September.

The amount of the surcharge is EUR 50 or USD 60 per teu. The teu is the unit of measurement of containership capacity and port throughput volume equivalent to a 20-foot container.

According to MSC, the surcharge will partially cover the additional costs incurred by the docking delays.

In particular, it points out that at the end of July, work began on upgrading the container terminal in Thessaloniki, which will help accommodate larger vessels and increase the port’s efficiency.

However, it said that this project ‘affects port activities, leading to congestion and delays’.

Sources close to the liner shipping companies stress to that the problem lies in servicing large containerships and similar tactics will be adopted by other companies.

The platform of the shipping portal MarineTraffic shows that the waiting time of ships at the berth for their service reached 1.2 days in the week of August 2-8, up from 0.4 days a week earlier. However, it dropped to 0.6 days in the week of 9-15 August.

In the same period, waiting times in port for loading and unloading operations increased to 1.3 days, when a week earlier ships were delayed by about 1.1 days.

New global charges

Analysts note that there is no specific way to calculate congestion charges at ports and their application is at the discretion of shipping companies.

Last May, the leading liner shipping company, Danish Maersk, imposed extra congestion charges of $12 to $30 per container at major ports in Europe following the Suez incident.

Similarly, the German Hapag-Lloyd had applied a charge of USD 30 in German ports.

New charges are being imposed these days due to increased congestion in Chinese and US ports.

However, it should be noted that the US authorities have been “targeting” the liners, asking eight major companies to justify the charges they apply and impose on the country’s business.


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