Hapag-Lloyd waives $150,000 demurrage fees for Wisconsin forwarder

Carrier Hapag-Lloyd has waived more than $150,000 in demurrage fees for a Wisconsin-based forwarder.

Its move followed a decision by a small claims officer at the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to support a claim by TCW Inc about detention and demurrage (D&D) charges that had been imposed by Taiwan-based carrier Evergreen.

The FMC interpretive requires D&D charges to be levied only where this would encourage the flow of cargo through ports and storage facilities. The SCO argued that daily charges for containers that were unavailable for pick-up or drop-off were therefore unacceptable.

The FMC has now confirmed the SCO decision, providing the shipping industry with a clear process for charging, while also limiting the opportunities that carriers had in the past to charge D&D even when containers or chassis were unavailable.

The Hapag-Lloyd case also involved rail operator CSX, which charged Wisconsin-based freight forwarder ME Dey more than $136,000 in D&D charges relating to 16 containers it imported from the Netherlands.

ME Dey said that the containers were shipped to South Carolina, from where they were taken to Nashville, Tennessee, by rail via CSX, a sub-contractee of Hapag-Lloyd. Dey’s trucker, New Age Logistics, was able to pick up three containers from the rail terminal before the last free day, on September 7th, but a lack of chassis meant that it struggled to move the other containers. D&D charges were then imposed.

Dey president Sandi Siegel said that the company had requested information many times for 10 containers, which continued to accrue D&D charges, but was continually told they were “unmounted and unavailable for pickup”.

Siegel said that “CSX also refused to allow New Age to bring in its own chassis to move the containers, saying the containers were in a stack that could not be accessed.”

The Evergreen decision was made public on December 29th.