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Lines slap war risk surcharges on Venezuela shipments

Shippers must brace for more expensive calls to crisis-hit Venezuela. MSC, the world’s second largest liner, yesterday told clients it was imposing surcharges for shipments bound for the politically unstable Latin American nation.

“Amid the imposition of sanctions related to Venezuela, and the ongoing political volatility in that country, MSC is applying with immediate effect a War Risk Premium surcharge on cargo coming from worldwide destinations into Venezuela,” MSC stated in a note to clients.

MSC officials declined to specify how much extra they will be charging clients for boxes bound for Venezuela.
Newswire Reuters recently reported that Hamburg Sud, now owned by Maersk, and Miami-based King Ocean Services have added a surcharge of $1,200 per container for Venezuela shipments.

The UK War Risks website states the additional premiums in Venezuelan waters are in response to a number of expropriations of ships and other maritime assets by the Venezuelan government via its national shipping and port companies.

“Incidents of piracy and banditry have been reported in a variety of Venezuelan ports and waterways including Puerto la Cruz, Barcelona City and the Maracaibo Channel,” UK War Risks warns on its site.

For example, it has been reported by one P&I club that bandits take advantage of the darkness of the night and lack of vigilance to climb aboard ships at anchor off Barcelona City. The area is some distance away from any population, harbour and naval bases. There have been reported cases in which crews have been gagged, and threatened with high calibre weapons.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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