Stemming from a 2012 global treaty agreement to reduce sulfuric emissions along the U.S. and Canadian coastlines, carriers will begin the implementation of a Low Sulfur Surcharge (LSS) starting January 1, 2015.  The new regulation requires shipping lines to burn low-sulfur diesel fuel within the designated Emission Control Areas (ECA) and to modify vessel fuel systems in order to alternate between standard bunker and low-sulfur fuels as they enter and leave ECA zones.

All ocean carriers have announced the LSS.  The steamship lines that have already been levying the charge recently announced that they will raise their surcharges to match market levels.  The surcharge value is complex and varies by carrier, tradelane, and specific port.

LSS charges range from $30 to $110 per 20’ container and between $60 to $220 per 40’ container for both import and export cargo.  Higher levels are being implemented for cargo to and from the U.S. East Coast.  While most carriers will adjust their Low Sulfur Surcharge quarterly, it is subject to change at any time.  Shippers with direct carrier agreements are advised to examine their specific contracts to see how the LSS will impact them.

Please contact your Shapiro representative for exact surcharges by trade lane and carriers.