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FMC Launches Investigation Into Billing Practices of Carriers, Terminal Operators

(Jeff Berman – Logistics Management)

Earlier this week, the Federal Maritime Commission said it voted to kick off an investigation that will focus on the practices of vessel operating common carriers and marine terminal operators related to detention, demurrage, and per diem charges.

The investigation will be led by FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye, whom will examine detention, demurrage, and per diem practices and evaluate five key issues, including:

  • whether the alignment of commercial, contractual and cargo interests enhances or aggravates the ability of cargo to move efficiently through U.S. ports;
  • when has the carrier or MTO (maritime trade operator) tendered cargo to the shipper and consignee;
  • what are the billing practices for invoicing demurrage and detention;
  • what are the billing practices with respect to delays caused by various outside of intervening events; and
  • what are the practices for resolution of demurrage and detention disputes between carriers and shippers

The formal launch of this investigation follows a petition filed at the FMC by the Coalition for Fair Port Practices in January, when it held a two-day hearing exploring issues raised by the petition through testimony from shippers, ocean transportation intermediaries, ocean carriers, truckers, and MTOs. This investigation will run through December 2, when a final report of Commissioner Dye’s findings and are recommendations are due to the FMC. Click here to read more.

Related: Petition of the Coalition for Fair Port Practices for Rulemaking (Federal Register)