Two major U.S. cargo carriers this week joined the ongoing industry trend in cutting the air fuel surcharges they apply to heavy freight supplied by forwarders, as FedEx Express said it will charge 55 cents per kilogram for fuel on international shipments, down from 60, and Northwest Airlines announced its second cut in a month and will now charge 50 cents.

FedEx was among the last of major international airlines to move off the 60-cent level. Other carriers for weeks had been cutting to 55 and even to 50 cents as falling jet fuel prices hit their separate index trigger points. Northwest had taken its fee down to 55 cents from 60 on Oct. 9.

Major global carriers watch a similar batch of pricing points, but the indices they each use can vary with an extra pricing location or by how long their average prices stay in a certain range before their company changes its surcharge.

FedEx said its lower fuel fee will kick in on Nov. 6 for its international express and airport-to-airport heavy freight. FedEx operates the world's largest cargo fleet.

Northwest's new fee level takes effect Nov. 1. Its domestic fuel charge falls to 20 cents a pound from 22; it had been 25 cents as recently as Oct. 8. Northwest has a freighter fleet of 14 747-200s in the Pacific Ocean trade between Asia and North America, and carries a large volume of freight in its passenger planes as well.

The average price for a gallon of jet fuel on world markets hit $1.807 on Oct. 13, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices were lowest in Europe and Asia.

This week, Korean Air Cargo and Dutch-based Martinair both announced decreases in their fuel surcharges for air cargo. Each will drop the charge 5 cents to 50 cents per kilogram of actual weight. KAL's new level goes into effect Oct. 30; Martinair's will be effective Nov. 1. Last week, LAN Cargo and Cargolux announced equal levels to be effective Oct. 30