Commissioner Rebecca Dye from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in the US has launched the first phase of her investigation into port demurrage, detention, and free time practices by ordering ocean common carriers to provide information and documents explaining those practices. A similar effort with respect to container terminals at major US ports is also underway.
The first phase of Dye’s investigation involves gathering information from ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators serving a broad section of container ports located throughout the US. Carriers have been directed to provide detailed information about their detention and demurrage practices, especially regarding circumstances where shippers are not able to retrieve cargo.
“The ultimate resolution of this investigation will have the potential to affect every ocean common carrier calling the United States. It is vital that the information we gather is representative of business and operational practices, as well as market conditions, nationally,” said Dye.
She stressed that it is critical that shippers, dray truck companies, and other affected parties who can document specific allegations and provide supporting materials of unreasonable port detention and demurrage practices and fees step forward and cooperate with the investigation.