Transpacific Stabilization Agreement

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Ancillary Charges

Glossary of Surcharges, Charges, Rules and Service Terms

Transpacific shipping lines assess a number of eastbound ancillary charges for the movement of cargo, in addition to base freight rates. These charges take different forms, but in each case are intended to recover rising or constantly fluctuating costs that are beyond carriers’ control.

Ancillary charges are typically broken out from base rates in order to specifically address cost impacts to carrier operations, as opposed to the value of particular transportation and logistics services provided in a particular commodity or country market.

Carriers achieve greater predictability in their revenue streams and shippers gain better transparency and understanding of their costs.

Surcharges are “floating” charges, adjusted on a regular basis to reflect costs that are in constant flux, such as exchange rates or world marine fuel prices.

Charges are intended to address more stable or fixed costs, typically charges paid by the carriers themselves to ports, terminal operators, railroads or other parties.

Rules and Service Terms are provisions in a carrier tariff or service contract that allocate responsibilities and related cargo and equipment handling and transfer costs among the carrier, shipper, intermediary or other party over an entire cargo move.

Elsewhere in this section is a list of guideline surcharges, charges, rules and terms of service adopted by TSA as a group. They are recommendations developed by TSA, based on internal market research, that suggest appropriate levels for specific types of ancillary charges should members individually choose to adopt them. Such guidelines are not binding on any line, either within or outside TSA.


Bunker Fuel — Compensates for wide fluctuations in marine bunker fuel and diesel oil at key (BAF/FAF) transpacific load ports.

Congestion — Addresses costs related to schedule delays, rerouting of cargo and other impacts from sudden or sustained port congestion.

Currency(CAF) — Covers increased local currency operating costs in Asian countries relative to U.S. dollar-denominated freight charges and revenues.

Feeder — Covers sudden increases in spot market rates for connecting vessel and inland barge feeder service in Asia.

War Risk — Addresses higher insurance premiums, shipment rerouting or rescheduling, and other increased costs serving countries at risk of war or armed conflict.


Alameda Corridor — Recovers charge assessed by railroads for inland destination moves via Southern California ports, to pay for Alameda Corridor express rail facility.

Chassis Usage — Addresses cost of carrier-providing chassis along with container equipment.

Container Service — Covers cleaning, fumigation, maintenance and repair and other services to container equipment after use.

Documentation Fee — Fee applied at origin and/or destination to offset rising staffing, training, equipment and information systems costs relating to increased volume and complexity of documentation.

Hazardous Rail Security — Covers security-related charges paid to U.S. railroads for intermodal shipments of hazardous cargo.

Panama Canal — Recovers transit charges paid by shipping lines to Canal Authority.

Suez Canal — Recovers transit charges paid by shipping lines to Canal Authority.

Terminal Handling — Reflects shoreside handling costs at origin port, from receipt of the container at the CY or CFS terminal through its loading onto the vessel. Charges vary by port, carrier and services performed; special charges may apply to refrigerated, hazardous or other cargo requiring additional handling.

Rules and Service Terms

Detention — Period of time container and/or chassis is held by receiving party at its premises after delivery

Demurrage — Period of time loaded container remains at destination terminal awaiting pickup by shipper or consignee.

Drayage — Trucking of container and/or cargo on behalf of the customer within a port area, to and from an off-dock CY or CFS or locally for pickup or delivery.

Free Time — Initial period of time allowed for detention and demurrage, without charges accruing.

Hazardous Cargo — Liability and charges related to packaging, labeling, container loading and documentation of hazardous cargo, particularly within consolidated “freight all kinds” shipments.

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