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NEWS: Shippers respond to plight of residents differently

By Eric Rosario

(Tumon, Guam) The plummeting price of a barrel of oil and the decreasing ability for more residents to afford food has led American President Lines (APL) Guam, one of two of the island's shippers of food and other projects, to lower one of its fuel surcharges, and to suspend the other.

"We suspended the low sulfur fuel surcharge," APL Guam president Charlie Hermosa.

Matson Navigation, the other shipper, by contrast has reduced its fuel surcharge by only two percentage points, which went into effect April 12. The rate, which is a combination of charged fuel costs, went from 36 percent to 34 percent. The reduction does not align with the reduction in the cost of a barrel of oil from around $86 to $11 during this period.

APL informed its customers of the suspension of the surcharge in a May 1 letter to them. This suspension of the surcharge translates into an additional $300 to $500 decrease in the cost of shipping a single container to Guam via APL, Mr. Hermosa confirmed to Kandit. On April 1, APL reduced its regular fuel surcharge, which is a flat fee charged per container.

The shipping company already offers lower rates than its competitor, Matson.

While the cost of shipping has gone down for APL and Matson's customers (albeit by vastly different amounts), it is up to the shippers's customers - the distributors and retailers that have their food and other items shipped to Guam - to lower prices on store shelves.

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