Second shipper seeks damages from CMA CGM

New Jersey, US-based shipper Marine Transport Logistics (MTL) has alleged that CMA CGM has withheld five of its ocean containers for several months overseas without reason. It is seeking $600,000 in damages to compensate for storage fees charged and lost business, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).

MTL’s action is being made following the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA-22) being signed into law on June 16th. That law saw the FMC make it easier to submit a complaint without the costly need for processing fees and attorneys, and a number of companies have submitted claims against the major shippers.

MTL, which is a non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVO), has a staff of 30. It said that in March it asked CMA CGM to reroute five containers to Port of Bremerhaven in Germany because of the war in Ukraine. MTL said in its complaint that the cargo instead ended up in Constanta, Romania, where the containers remained for several months, despite the company’s repeated requests to send them to the Germany.

MTL said that it tried to follow up the matter with CMA CGM several times in March and April. It has alleged that the carrier didn’t respond and “failed to advise as to the nature of the extent of the delay in Constanta.”

The NVO claimed that on April 21st CMA CGM sent the first demurrage bills linked to the containers that were now idling in Constanta.

MTL says CMA CGM responded in June that the containers would be delivered to Bremerhaven in July. It is not clear from the complaint where the containers have ended up, but MTL says they have not to date been released by CMA CGM and that storage fees were continuing to accumulate.