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FMC’s Cordero Questions Port Congestion Surcharges

(Journal of Commerce)

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero said ocean carriers’ West Coast port congestion surcharges shouldn’t apply to cargo already in transit, and that the FMC will examine whether there’s a “solid basis” for the charges.

“For us, the $64,000 question is, ‘What is the trigger? What’s the basis that will allow them to charge a surcharge?” Cordero told JOC.com. “That’s the threshold question. That’s the interesting question we at the FMC have to look into. Our staff is looking into whether there’s a trigger mechanism that is legitimate to even apply the surcharges,” he said.

Cordero, a former Long Beach port commissioner, said he’s not convinced that carriers’ citing of “labor unrest” is specific enough to justify hefty congestion surcharges that most trans-Pacific carriers filed months ago and activated Monday.