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FMC Examines Carrier Alliances, Charges in Aftermath of West Coast Port Crisis

(Toby Gooley – DC Velocity)

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is looking at whether some ocean carriers and terminal operators have been unfairly administering free time and assessing demurrage and detention charges against importers and their truckers that have been caught up in the ongoing congestion problems at West Coast ports.

The independent federal agency, which is tasked with regulating international ocean transportation in the United States, also is watching how ocean carrier alliances are affecting port operations, importers, and exporters, including their role in the business disruptions and cargo loss that have plagued the West Coast for months.

On April 13 the FMC released a 64-page staff report that reviews carriers’ and terminals’ rules and rates for detention, demurrage, and free time. The report also lays out concerns expressed by importers, exporters, and drayage carriers – most prominently, a “Catch-22” situation where they are not allowed to pick up or return containers and chassis within the allotted free time because of congestion yet are charged detention and demurrage. Click here to read more.