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            november 18, 2019

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Shippers, carriers dispute demurrage at Federal Maritime Commission


Shippers and forwarders are united against carriers and marine terminal operators over the US Federal Maritime Commission's (FMC) intention to ease demurrage and detention American ports, according to Shipping Gazette.
The US Federal Maritime Commission said it will "expeditiously" review the conflicting industry comments filed for its proposed interpretive rule under the Shipping Act.
Both sides say they are penalised in different ways, shippers by having trucks arrive, but unable retrieve containers and being charged for overstaying, while carriers and terminal operators say they being deprived of the means of fining shippers for overstaying.
"Exporters and truckers are going to support this and urge the commission to adopt the proposed rule as is," said AgTC executive director Peter Friedmann. "The rulemaking shed some light on how difficult it has been for shippers and their truckers to challenge the demurrage and detention fees."
Ocean carriers and marine terminals commonly assess US$150 to $300 demurrage and detention fees against shippers whose truckers are unable to pick up or drop off their containers within the allotted free-time windows.
But carrier lobby World Shipping Council president John Butler said: "The commission oversimplifies the purpose of demurrage and detention. The charge incentivises the movement of a shipping container.
"With no analysis of the regulatory impact, the commission prescribes sweeping new standards that would make ocean carriers financially responsible for circumstances beyond their control, impose significant regulatory costs on carriers in order to comply with those standards, and greatly increase the potential for unproductive disputes and costly litigation," he said in his brief.

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