German container carrier Hapag-Lloyd said it will limit sharp increases in premiums and other surcharges, apart from a freeze in spot rates, a company spokesperson told S&P Global Platts Sept. 12.
"Does the cap include a cap on surcharges? Generally no, but we gave ourselves an internal halt to any new high surcharges in particular for relations with very high FAK rates," the spokesperson said.
Hapag-Lloyd followed CMA CGM in announcing in the week ended Sept. 11 a halt in spot rate increases as container prices on most trade routes are hovering at record highs.
While CMA CGM said Sept. 9 it will not increase the freight rates till Feb.1, 2022, Hapag said it would avoid the surge "for the time being."
In the current spot market, there are broadly two key components to the all-in freight -- the FAK rate and surcharges. The announcements by the two major carriers had earlier stoked concerns of increases in the form of different surcharges like premium, port congestion and peak season fees, over and above the FAK rates.
Carriers introduced hefty general rate increases on FAK rates and also premium surcharges on top of the FAK, to ensure fixed space and timely loading, as the pandemic resulted in supply chain blockages and container shortage all across the world.
While the current FAK on the active North Asia to West Coast North America route is $9,000/FEU, the all-inclusive premium rate is within $15,000-$22,000/FEU, Platts data showed.