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The battle over the emergency bunker surcharge heats up

The new bunker surcharge imposed by carriers suggests distress for carriers and that bottom lines are under pressure, say analysts. A negotiation between shipowners and customers is underway, while a global shipping organization says the measure is similar to another controversial practice.

Photo: /ritzau/AP/Scott Varley

There are strong indications of an upcoming battle between the world's largest container carrier and its customers. With the emergency bunker surcharge imposed by players such as Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MSC and the expectation that others will follow, carriers have invoked the ire of shippers' around the world who are far from pleased with the extra bill to be added from June and July.

Global Shippers Forum has called out the emergency surcharge, with general secretary Chris Welsh calling it a "none too subtle" attempt to get customers to pay a non-negotiable fee.

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