US FMC proposes new demurrage and detention billing requirements

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has proposed a new rule that it said would bring more clarity, structure and punctuality to the demurrage and detention billing practices of vessel operating common carriers (VOCCs), non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and marine terminal operators (MTOs).

If the proposed rule is adopted, these three types of company would be permitted to issue bills for demurrage or detention only to parties with which they have a contractual relationship, and would be required to be transparent regarding the nature of the charges, issue invoices within 30 days after the charges stop accruing, and provide 30 days to dispute the charges, with clear information about how charges should be disputed.

The FMC has proposed:

  • adopting the list of minimum information that common carriers must include in demurrage or detention invoices as mandated in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA);
  • further defining prohibited practices by clarifying which parties may be billed for demurrage or detention charges;
  • and establishing billing practices that billing parties must follow when invoicing for demurrage or detention charges.

The FMC has said that it was specifically interested in receiving comments on whether it would be appropriate to include the consignee named on the bill of lading as another party who may receive a demurrage or detention invoice.

Interested parties will have 60 days to submit comments to the FMC once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Federal Register.