With major global events currently impacting various aspects of international transport, we may be set for surcharges to play a big part in ocean freight cost recovery next year.

Of course, we know that ocean freight rates are at rock bottom levels on most trades, and wait to find out how successful this month’s GRI push becomes.

However, the way things are looking right now, next year could become a year when surcharges play a big part, and perhaps even supplement carrier’s low ocean freight returns.

We already know that an EU Emission Trading System (ETS) surcharge is due to be introduced in January, as carriers get to grips with new EU regulations that effectively mean they have to pay for their emissions. This surcharge seems to range from $15-50 per TEU.

Earlier this month, carriers traversing the Panama Canal introduced another new surcharge, varying between $150 and $300 per TEU, which is to compensate for the waiting times caused by draft restrictions at the drought hit waterway.

The Suez Canal authorities are rumoured to be about to hike toll fees by up to 15%, which could potentially bring about another surcharge. There is also the potential for war related surcharges due to the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, and more recently in Gaza and Israel. Especially the latter, after recent attacks on cargo vessels in Middle East shipping lanes.

So, 2024 may well be set to be the year of the ocean freight surcharge.


If you have any questions regarding the above, then Westbound are here to help. So, please do not hesitate to contact us.