The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on February 4 seeking feedback. The Commission is looking to determine whether a new rule governing demurrage and detention billing practices would benefit the trade.
Specifically, the FMC is considering the merits of establishing regulations mandating that certain minimum information be included on bills issued for demurrage and detention charges and prescribing the maximum period in which an invoice can be sent. Additionally, it is seeking industry views on whether it should regulate the demurrage and detention billing practices of non-vessel operating common carriers and marine terminal operators.
The ANPRM broadly defines the terms “demurrage and detention” to include any charges assessed by common carriers and marine terminal operators related to the use of marine terminal space or shipping containers, regardless of the labels given to those charges.
The Commission is requesting comments on what specific information should be required on demurrage and detention bills. It is interested in learning what information is necessary to identify a shipment, and whether bills for demurrage and detention should include information on how the charges are calculated and what circumstances justify stopping the clock on charges. Finally, the Commission is soliciting guidance on how to ensure a bill is being issued to the correct party and whether an explanation of the source and reason for the charge should be required.
Comments received in response to the ANPRM will be used to inform the Commission if it should issue a proposed rule.
The full text of the ANPRM will soon be published in the Federal Register and provides details on the information sought by the Commission, how to submit comments, and the deadline for providing submissions in the docket.