FMC launches demurrage & detention investigation

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has begun its investigation into port demurrage, detention, and free time practices. As part of phase one of the investigation, FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye has ordered carriers to provide documents explaining the practices. Simultaneously FMC is beginning an investigation of container terminals at major US ports.

Carriers must provide information about detention and demurrage practices, particularly relating to situations when shippers cannot retrieve cargo.

Commissioner Dye said that “the ultimate resolution of this investigation will have the potential to affect every ocean common carrier calling in the United States. It is vital that the information we gather is representative of business and operational practices, as well as market conditions, nationally”.

Commissioner Dye said that shippers, dray truck companies and other affected parties who have specific and documented allegations of unreasonable port detention and demurrage practices and fees must also volunteer the information for the investigation. “We expect concerned parties to participate robustly in this investigation. Their cooperation is essential,” Commissioner Dye said.

An interim report is scheduled to be released by September 2nd 2018. A final report will be issued to the FMC for consideration, discussion, and vote by December 2nd.