German ship line imposes Ebola fee on Africa shipments

A German shipping line is imposing an "Ebola inspection fee" on shipments to and from West Africa, according to, a maritime news Web site.

The inspection fee, $250 for a 20-foot container and $350 for a 40-foot container, will apply to cargo to and from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, the Web site reported. It will take effect on Sept. 21 for most shipments. For cargo to and from the United States, the fee will go into effect Sept. 29. (Read the full report here).

Hapag-Lloyd, the world's sixth largest shipping line by some estimates, is apparently imposing the fee as a consequence of increased health inspections of ship crews by local authorities, according to the report, which quoted a notice from the ship line to its customers. Such inspections cause delays and operational issues, imposing unexpected costs on the carrier.

Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people this year and the World Health Organization says there could be as many as 20,000 cases before the outbreak is contained.