The Maersk shipping line has implemented a hike in rates of up to US$100 ($130) on containers moving from the United States to the Far East effective November 1, which would reflect an increase of goods in the Sultanate originating from the West.
The Danish shipping and oil and gas company announced that the increase is US$90 ($117) for 20-foot containers and $100 for 40-foot, 40-foot high-cube, and 45-foot high-cube containers.
Maersk defines “Far East Asia” as Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
General Manager of New Muara Container Terminal Services (NMCTS) Rico Cruz told The Brunei Times in a telephone interview yesterday that Brunei in fact does have Maersk containers here, but they do not have their own vessel calling Brunei.
“They are loaded on other lines that calls Brunei. This probably would effect the prices, because shipping will be more expensive. However, if the other lines do not follow suit, forwarders would probably transfer to other lines,” he said.
Crui explained that all the containers coming from the US and Europe into Brunei are transhipped by Singapore or Hong Kong.
“Lines calling those ports that call Brunei, will just pick it up from those two ports. But yes, prices of goods will be affected unless the shipper would absorb (the increase of price),” he added.
Reasons for the increase in price could not be identified as of press time.
Thomas Koh, vice president of the Brunei Freight Forwarders Association, told The Brunei Times earlier this week that as consumers, they should be a given reason why the prices have been increased, a view shared by Cruz.
Koh said that Brunei has a limited schedule and does not have the luxury of choice.
“That’s the situation we are in, we cannot choose because we have limited (choices). Then again, this is just the way of the economy, nobody is to be blamed,” he added.
May Lim, general manager of Harbour-Links Lines (B) Sdn Bhd, also confirmed that prices of goods would increase from the West when the new shipping rates come into effect.
“Yes, if they increase price, it will affect goods as the additional cost will be included. For example, if they send 2,000 soft drinks and there is a freight increase, they will take that into consideration the price of goods,” she said.
Lim mentioned that Maersk would be less popular should they be the only company that increase shipping prices, as shippers could switch to other lines.
The Maersk Line is one of the largest container shipping companies in the world with a fleet comprising more than 500 vessels and 1,900,000 TEU (Twenty foot Equivalent Unit or a 20 feet-long container). — Courtesy of The Brunei Times