NEW YORK — The economy is shaky, the U.S. is threatening war with Iraq and the underlying labor problems that brought West Coast ports to a halt this month have not yet been resolved. What else does a shipper have to worry about? Rising rates.

A group of 14 ocean carriers who haul cargo from Asia to North America plan to try to raise the price of shipping a 40-foot container by between $700 and $1,200 for the contract year beginning in May. The 14 members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization, said they intend to raise the prices from Asia to West Coast ports by $700 per box and the prices for intermodal service, which includes delivery by truck, by $900. TSA members also plan to impose a $300 peak-season surcharge for cargo coming in between June 15 and Oct. 31.

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