Shipping companies operating in Jordan’s Aqaba Port have decided to raise their fees in order to cover a 12.5 percent war risk premium surcharge, levied by international insurance companies for steering in a declared war zone.
The Aqaba Rate Agreement, a consortium which groups the operators of regular lines in the Red Sea port, met last month and decided to increase fees on all goods shipped to and from Aqaba port, effective October 1.
Under the new rates, an additional $100 fee is imposed on each 20-foot container heading to the Arabian Gulf or Asia, while 20-foot vessels en-route to the Mediterranean, Europe and the US and vice-versa have been slapped with a $125 fee surcharge. 40-foot containers will be required to pay a $250 increase in shipment costs.
Global insurance companies have declared several areas in the region—including the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Oman, Yemen and the Gulf of Aqaba—as war zones, in anticipation of US retaliation for the September 11 terror attacks. These areas are identified as potential areas of unrest and subsequently subject to war risk premiums.
Jordan officials who are worried that the shipping costs increase will eventually devalue Jordanian exports, are lobbying major Western capitals to exclude Aqaba, the Kingdom's sole maritime outlet, from the declared war zones list. — (Mena Report)
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