Signals Newsletter March 4, 2009
Volume 13, Number 3
Oakland, California

SIGNALS™ provides detailed information on the regulations and activities of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and related developments in the ocean freight industry. For past issues, please consult our index.

 LA and Long Beach Begin Collecting Clean Trucks Fees, FMC Orders Reports

On February 18, 2009, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach began collecting the long-delayed Clean Truck Fee (CTF).  This $35 per 20ft container and $70 per 40ft container fee is an essential part of the Clean Trucks Programs at the ports, which aim to improve air quality at the ports by banning all pre-2007 trucks from the ports by 2012.  The CTF was originally slated to begin along with the Clean Trucks Programs’ October 1, 2008 ban on pre-1989 trucks, but was postponed twice due to challenges from the Federal Maritime Commission.

Local media in Southern California reported that the first day of CTF collection resulted in long lines and heavy traffic as hundreds of truckers were denied entry to the ports.  To facilitate CTF collection the Ports require trucks to be equipped with working radio frequency ID tags.  Many truckers were not in compliance with this requirement.  Despite these problems, PortCheck, the non-profit organization established by the ports and marine terminal operators to handle CTF collection, reported that collection of the fees was going “fairly smoothly.”

Full containers moving in and out of the ports by truck are subject to the CTF, except when they are moved by trucks that qualify for exemptions from the CTF.  Containers moving by way of on-dock rail are not subject to the CTF.  However, containers moving inland via rail that leave port terminals by truck before they are loaded on trains are subject to the CTF.  The CTF is not levied on empty containers, bulk cargo and other non-container cargo moving by truck through the ports. 

CTF exemptions and discounts are available for containers moved by 2007 or newer diesel or alternative fuel trucks.   Some trucks are fully exempt from the CTF, but others do not qualify for these exemptions.  The two ports have separate requirements for these exemptions.  At the Port of Long Beach, many containers moved by privately funded 2007 or newer diesel trucks are assessed only one-half of the CTF.  For more detailed information on the Clean Truck Fee visit

On February 11, 2009, the Federal Maritime Commission voted to require all parties of the Port Fees Service Agreement, Agreement No. 201199, to file reports with the Commission regarding CTF collection.  Agreement No. 201199 allows the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and marine terminal operators to work together to collect the CTF.  The FMC will use these reports to closely monitor the Clean Truck Fee and assess its impact on the trucking industry, shippers and consumers.  In October 2008, the FMC filed for a permanent injunction against “anti-competitive” aspects of the Clean Truck Programs in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  A ruling in this case is expected later this year.

 TSA Withdraws Capacity Amendment from FMC Consideration

The Federal Maritime Commission announced the withdrawal of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement’s (TSA) proposed agreement amendment authorizing TSA members to discuss vessel capacity.  On February 10, 2009 the TSA notified the FMC of its decision to withdraw the proposed amendment to FMC Agreement No. 011223.  In December 2008, the TSA, whose 14 member carriers serve the East Asia/USA trade lane, filed an agreement amendment with the FMC that would have authorized members to discuss and agree upon vessel capacity.  According to the FMC, the TSA was considering developing a coordinated capacity rationalization program to assist member carriers in dealing with the global decline in liner cargo volume.  Many in the shipping industry criticized this amendment as a step backwards for the industry.  The amendment withdrawal came after the Federal Maritime Commission unanimously denied the TSA’s request for expedited agreement review and requested additional information from TSA member lines.

 TSA Carriers Switch to Quarterly Inland Fuel Charges, Maintain BAF and Adjust CAF

The carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, serving the East Asia/USA trade lane announced increased Inland Fuel Charges (IFC) for the period of April to June 2009 and an increased Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) for Japan.  The TSA also announced Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) for April 2009 will be the same as those announced earlier for March 2009.  

Inland Fuel Charges (IFC) effective April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009 will be increased as follows: US$ 153 per container for shipments to IPI destinations served via West Coast Ports, US$ 77 per container for shipments to RIPI destinations served via East Coast Ports, and US$ 44 per container for shipments to Group 4 Points in California, Oregon and Washington and to East Coast local store door points.  The Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) for Japan will be increased from 11 to 16 percent for the period of April to June 2009. 

Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) for April 2009 will remain at current levels of US$ 328 per 20ft container, US$ 410 per 40ft container, US$ 461 per 40ft hi-cube container, US$ 519 per 45ft container and US$ 9 per WM.  The TSA Carriers continue to update BAF on a monthly basis.  IFC is adjusted every three months.  The TSA’s 14 carrier members are American President Lines, CSCL, CMA-CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, "K" Line, Mediterranean Shipping, NYK Line, OOCL, Yang Ming Marine and Zim Integrated Shipping Services. Visit

 WTSA Carriers Reduce April June 2009 Bunker and Inland Fuel Charges

The Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA), FMC Agreement No. 011325, whose member lines serve the US export trades from the USA to East Asia, announced April 1 reductions to Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) and Inland Fuel Charges (IFC) and revisions to Currency Adjustment Factors (CAF).  Some WTSA members are charging the following BAF for dry and reefer container cargo for the period of April to June 2009.


Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF), effective: April 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009


Traffic to/from and via:


US Atlantic/Gulf Coast Ports

US Pacific Coast Ports


US$ 455 per 20ft dry container

US$ 226 per 20ft dry container


US$ 569 per 40ft/45ft dry container

US$ 283 per 40ft/45ft dry container


US$ 760 per 40ft/45ft reefer container

US$ 398 per 40ft/45ft reefer container

The Inland Fuel Charge (IFC) for April to June 2009 will be reduced to US$ 153 per container for rail and intermodal rail/truck shipments, and US$ 44 per container for local/regional truck shipments.  Currency Adjustment Factors (CAF) effective April 1 through June 30, 2009 are as follows: Japan 0%, Korea 0%, Taiwan 4% (down from 5%) and Singapore 14% (up from 11%).  The WTSA updates CAF, BAF and IFC surcharges on a quarterly basis.  The WTSA’s 10 member carriers are American President Lines, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine Corp., Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, "K" Line, NYK Line, OOCL and Yang Ming Marine.  For more information visit

 Panama Canal Authority Increases Tolls May 1, 2009 and October 1, 2009

The Panama Canal Authority is increasing full container vessel tolls as of May 1, 2009.  The canal authority approved a 2009 toll increase of 10.1 percent.  This increase will be implemented in two phases.  Tolls will increase on May 1, 2009 and again on October 1, 2009.  To cover administrative costs many carriers have filed canal surcharges at levels slightly higher than the tolls actually assessed by the Canal Authority.  Many carriers have updated their tariffs to begin charging the following surcharges May 1, 2009: $ 297 per container (all sizes), $ 6 per CBM and $ 14 per KT.  In order to pass these charges along to shippers, ocean carriers and NVOCCs must file these surcharges in their FMC tariffs.

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Vol. 13 No. 3, March 4, 2009

The information contained herein is obtained from reliable sources. It is subject to change at any time, however, depending on changes in laws and regulations. While we continually attempt to monitor this information, we do not guarantee its accuracy and are not responsible for any damages suffered by any party in reliance on it.