© Andrii Yalanskyi

Indian shippers and freight forwarders moving goods to Europe must contend with additional surcharges to secure confirmed bookings, amid growing capacity pressures on the tradelane.

CMA CGM has announced an emergency space surcharge (ESS) of $500 per container for Indian freight to North Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, from 1 July, that will apply to all types of cargo.

While this is the first such surcharge on Indian trades currently, industry sources expect other major carriers to follow suit because of consortium arrangements and the changing market dynamics.

CMA CGM is a dominant operator on India-Europe trades, with its weekly premier Epic service now deploying 13 vessels: 10 from CMA CGM, two from Cosco and one from OOCL.

CMA CGM Agencies India told customers the ESS was part of “a continued effort to provide customers with reliable and efficient services.”

Red Sea crisis-linked sailing disruption has been a concern on India-Europe networks, causing erratic vessel arrivals that inevitably complicate cargo carting plans for shippers and freight agents.

The Epic network has seen a series of vessels announcing gate cut-off changes at Nhava Sheva and Mundra this month, due to late arrivals including APL Salalah, Colombo Express, Cosco Glory and NYK Vesta, according to port updates.

As capacity problems grow, freight rates ex-India to Europe have moved significantly higher in the past few weeks.

“Carriers have been able to fill available space on most vessels through to the end of July,” one executive at a Mumbai-based NVO told The Loadstar, and added: “We are expecting rates to jump further.”

MSC has announced a hefty revision of its freight-all-kinds (FAK) rates from India to Europe. For sailings through July, its  pricing for loads from Nhava Sheva/Ennore/Kolkata to Antwerp will be $5,000 per teu and $5,700 per feu. It will also increase rates for Indian bookings to Valencia, to $5,700/teu and $6,000/feu, from 1 July.

Hapag-Lloyd, too, has increased its India-North Europe tariff rates by $500 per container, with a two-week validity, taking its updated rate card to $2,994 per teu and $1,788 per feu from Nhava Sheva and Mundra. From Chennai, its relative rates are up to $2,694/teu and $1,738/feu.

“The validity of this increase applies to sailings starting on 1 July and valid until 14 July 14,” the German liner noted.

Forwarder sources also believe equipment supply will tighten in the coming days as cargo bookings peak. One forwarder told The Loadstar: “As of now, we are able to pick up empties for our bookings. As imports from the Far East slow down due to the port congestion across the region there, the inventory cycle can come under serious pressure for carriers.”

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