By  on December 4, 2007

NEW YORK — Ocean freight carriers are giving apparel importers advance warning about their intent to move aggressively in the next two years to recoup rapidly rising fuel costs.

Freight rate contract negotiations between ocean carriers and importers kick off in March and are typically concluded by May 1. In previous years, the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), a conglomerate of 14 shipping lines that negotiates rates from Asian ports, has sought to justify increases by citing factors ranging from growth in trading volume to higher investments in terminal operations and security. Fuel prices have always figured into the negotiations, but the rhetoric from TSA heading into 2008 indicates that fuel will be the primary issue.

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