FMC dishes out $2m fine to Hapag-Lloyd

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in the US yesterday approved a settlement agreement reached between its Bureau of Enforcement (BoE) and German line Hapag-Lloyd where the ocean carrier will pay a $2m civil penalty to address alleged violations related to their detention and demurrage practices.

“To restore full confidence in our ocean freight system, vigorous enforcement of FMC rules is necessary. Specifically, we must ensure powerful ocean carriers obey the Shipping Act when dealing with American importers and exporters. The case that was concluded today is just part of an ongoing effort to investigate any conduct alleged to violate FMC rules – and in particular, the interpretive rule on detention and demurrage charges,” chairman Daniel Maffei said.

This settlement agreement follows an April initial decision issued by the commission’s administrative law judge finding Hapag-Lloyd violated the law by knowingly and willfully failing to establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing or delivery property, by unreasonably refusing to waive detention charges, in violation of the Shipping Act.

The $2m civil penalty will be paid to the US Department of the Treasury and will be deposited into the General Fund.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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