Shipping companies have a couple of options if their ships normally go through the Gulf of Aden.
1) They can go another route, which will add to the voyage time.
2) They can buy additional insurance coverage.
Either one will cost the carriers more money. If you ship to or from this part of the world, expect a new "pirate avoidance" surcharge. I suspect the official name will be security surcharge.
This is the first one I have seen, to be effective Jan. 1, 2009.
French carrier CMA CGM announced it will levy a $23 per-TEU surcharge on all containers shipped through the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden as of Jan. 1.
The company said the surcharge is “in addition to any rate agreement, short- or long-term, already concluded with customers or to be concluded.”
The levy will be implemented on bills of lading dated from Jan. 1 on all boxes transiting the Gulf “at any point in the voyage”.
The announcement comes a week after CMA CGM bowed to demands from its crews for double pay, as a risk bonus, for sailing through the waterway, where dozens of ships have been attacked by Somali-based pirates.
The carrier said transit of container ships through the Gulf in both directions is subject to additional high costs due to increased insurance premiums and other expenses because of the prevailing risks of piracy.
The bit about "in addition to any rate agreement, short- or long-term, already concluded with customers or to be concluded.” is, because many contracts are all-in, or what the customer believed to be all-inclusive.
This new charge will apply anyway.
Unless, you were really able to negotiate a contract which specifically said no new charges would be charged during the lifetime of the contract.
Probably, when the big boom hit a couple of years ago, carriers wouldn't give that wording, so CMA-CGM will probably be able to charge this new surcharge to all of their clients.
I don't think the customers should complain. Unless, of course one of the ships does get hijacked.