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Maersk Line suspends increased container demurrage rates

MY RIDE
By | July 21st 2011

By PATRICK BEJA

Kenya’s biggest shipping line has suspended increased container demurrage rates to allow for consultations with clearing and forwarding agents.

The development has come as a big relief to clearing and forwarding agents as well as cargo owners.

Maersk Line Kenya announced the move last week and said the suspension would remain in force until November 1.

The consultative meeting was presided over by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) last Tuesday after Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) called off a nationwide strike last week over the container overcharges by shipping lines.

However, negotiations on reported high charges by shipping still continue among port stakeholders.

Kifwa national chairman Awiti Bolo had called for the national strike complaining of huge overcharges for containers by the shipping line.

He said they were forced to pay $500 (Sh45,000) per 20 feet container, $1000 (Sh90,000) per 40 feet box.

Bolo also said shipping lines were holding billions of shillings in delayed refunds for container deposits while the money did not attract any interests.

Bolo welcomed the shipping line’s decision to suspend the increased to pave way for consultations among industry stakeholders.

"The move is good for business. We hope we will reach amicable solution at the end of the talks," Bolo said.

KMA director general Mrs Nancy Karigithu said the talks were cordial.

A statement from Maersk Line said the implementation of the new demurrage and detention tariff announced on May 30 this year had been suspended.

New rates

"We wish to advise that following consultations with the Kenya Maritime Authority and other port and industry stakeholders we have decided to suspend the implementation of the new demurrage and detention tariff announced on May 30 2011," said the shipping line.

The statement was dispatched by the line’s Rolf Nielsen to industry stakeholders.

It said: "The suspension will remain in place until November 1 2011."

The shipping line however said it was still in need of compensation for the increased cost of containers but remained open to alternative ways of securing such compensation other than through the demurrage and detention tariff.

Last two weeks ago, Bolo and Maersk Kenya Mombasa branch manager Ms Ruth Tabbu jointly beginning of the consultations to avert the strike.

In the current tariff, a 20 foot container of dry cargo attracts US$6.6 per day for the first seven days and double the amount in the next seven days.

The 40 foot container will be charged at $13.2 in the first seven days and $26.4 in the next seven days.

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