Maersk is the latest carrier to attempt a general rate increase (GRI) on containerised trade from India to the United States.
From 25 June, the Danish will begin a GRI levy of US$800 per 20-foot box, US$1,000 per 40-foot box and US$1,250 per 45-foot box for all types of shipments from India to the US East Coast and Gulf coasts.
“As Maersk Line strives to continue to offer you a broad portfolio of services, we are announcing a rate increase,” the carrier said in a customer advisory.
The move comes despite other carriers, notably MSC, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM, managing only modest gains from their two rounds of GRI attempts. In a challenging market environment, it remains to be seen if Maersk has an opportunity to push through its intended GRI amounts.
Indian merchandise exports took a heavy hit in April, the first month of fiscal year 2023-24. However, the Indian government and industry stakeholders remain optimistic about a turnaround in trade volumes as global consumer demand picks up for the upcoming festival season.
“The Russia-Ukraine war, coupled with emerging geopolitical scenarios, has made the international scenario much tougher for the exporters,” said A Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) in a statement.
He further noted, “With the expectations that the US economy would soon start showing signs of improvement and Chinese exports already showing a growth of 8.5% in April, we hope to continue with this growth trajectory.”
Sakthivel went on to say, “We further hope that exports will start showing better growth numbers starting July 2023, as things are expected to improve from Q3 of the calendar year, with fresh orders or order bookings for festival and new year season beginning to come.”
Some positive signs are already evident, as box volumes at Nhava Sheva Port (JNPT) rose nearly 8.5% year-over-year in May, according to new port data. The busiest public container handler saw 528,045 TEUs last month, versus 486,638 TEUs a year earlier.
India’s long-term export outlook also seems to be on a solid growth path. According to a new research report by Standard Chartered, India's merchandise export trade will reach some US$773 billion by 2030, rising at 7.5% annually, while the global growth average is expected to be 5%.
“As the global economy fully reopens and cross-border trade accelerates, South Asia region is at the heart of global trade growth and is perfectly positioned to be an export powerhouse driven by India and its dominance in key sectors like textiles, metals & minerals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals,” said Gaurav Bhatnagar, Standard Chartered’s Head of Trade and Working Capital for India & South Asia.
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