Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) is in a good position to move containers from a surplus area to a deficit area because of its service network, Orient Overseas (International) general manager for corporate affairs Stanley Shen says. 'We can also get our hands on newly manufactured boxes for other companies in Shanghai for export, so that we can relieve the pressure of positioning boxes there,' he said. Mr Shen said in a booming export market for Asia, it was of paramount importance for OOCL to seize this opportunity to handle all the export loads since the import load was weak. He said OOCL therefore would position empty containers in Asia despite the high costs, while lines without the advantage of good networks could not afford to do so. Unlike OOCL, several shipping lines face a shortage of containers in Asia because of the imbalance of trade to both the US and Europe with exports outstripping imports. Trans-Pacific container lines, which imposed a temporary peak-season surcharge of US$300 per feu (40 ft equivalent unit) from August 17 to meet costs of repositioning empty containers, have extended the levy to November 30. Handling costs at the shipper's end included container rentals per day, depot lift-on and lift-off charges, gate-in charges to terminals, terminal-handling charges, labour charge and others, Mr Shen said. Logistics firm LEP International's general manager of the sea-freight department for Hong Kong and China, Tang Hon-nam, said there was a chronic shortage of containers in Asia. One of the worst-hit trades was Hong Kong to Canada because shipping lines had reduced calls earlier this year, he said. Mr Tang said in all the years he had been handling cargo, he had never experienced such a situation in the sector. But LEP, through its connections, still managed to find slots for its cargo despite the difficulties, he said.