The US Federal Maritime Commission has launched the first phase of investigation into port demurrage, detention, and free time practices.
As part of the probe, FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye has ordered ocean common carriers to provide information and documents explaining those practices. A similar effort with respect to container terminals at major US ports is also underway.
Carriers have been directed to provide detailed information about their detention and demurrage practices, especially regarding circumstances where shippers are not able to retrieve cargo.
“The ultimate resolution of this investigation will have the potential to affect every ocean common carrier calling the United States. It is vital that the information we gather is representative of business and operational practices, as well as market conditions, nationally,” said Commissioner Dye.
Commissioner Dye emphasized that it is critical that shippers, dray truck companies, and other affected parties who can document specific allegations and provide supporting materials of unreasonable port detention and demurrage practices and fees step forward and cooperate with the investigation.
“We expect concerned parties to participate robustly in this investigation. Their cooperation is essential,” said Commissioner Dye.
An interim report of findings and recommendations is due no later than September 2, 2018. A final report will be issued to the Commission for consideration, discussion, and vote no later than December 2, 2018.