The Asia North America Eastbound Rate Agreement (ANERA) has introduced a new service contract that will remove pricing uncertainty for freight shipments from Asia to the United States. The contract will offer a single, flat, all-in rate, protecting member lines against fluctuating currency and fuel surcharges. 'We're in a new market environment,' said ANERA managing director Brian Conrad. At one time customers wanted to see surcharges broken down to understand better what they were paying for. As they were now familiar with ANERA's surcharges, they now wanted more simplicity and one predictable rate, he said. ANERA's single rate is fixed for the duration of the contract unless adjusted according to schedule under the contract terms or amended by mutual agreement. ANERA said the simpler contracts were designed to help shippers and consignees to plan their ocean transportation costs for the year easily and predictably. Mr Conrad said a flat, all-in rate would streamline contract negotiations and reduce paperwork for member lines in calculating and collecting freight charges for a wide range of markets, commodities and contracts. More than half the cargo carried by ANERA member line vessels typically moves under service contracts. ANERA has signed more than 120 contracts for the 1996/97 year. They cover a variety of major commodity categories and range in volume commitment from 50 to 5,500 40 ft containers.