US shipping regulatory body the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is to introduce revised rules covering container detention and demurrage practices across the country after commissioner Rebecca Dye released the results of an eight-month investigation into how carrier and container terminal apply the charges.
The main conclusion was that demurrage and detention charges are justified to the extent that they “incentivise cargo to move expeditiously” through US ports. But they need to be standardised – in terms of when the fees are applied and by how much – across the industry.
The report also says shippers would greatly benefit from visibility into container availability.
“An equally important finding was that focusing demurrage practices on notice of when cargo is actually available would likely eliminate many of the circumstances that lead to the imposition of demurrage fees.”