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Federal Maritime Commission on detention and demurrage charges

November 10, 2020

Trade associations along with supply-chain partners, importers, exporters, ocean carriers and marine terminals have voiced out their concerns with the Federal Maritime Commission on detention and demurrage charges amounting to millions of dollars assessed in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and other ports across the country, the Ports of New York and New Jersey. Record setting volumes causing massive congestion and shortage of skilled labor and chassis prompted many organizations to provide advanced notices of emptying receiving locations and for terminals to guarantee the appointments however produced very little to no concrete results. Truckers and shippers do not receive enough data from ocean carriers to help reduce these challenges resulting in additional truck trips and they end up repositioning equipment to locations other than the point of origin. While chassis shortages increase, empty return restrictions by ocean carrier alliances intensify the problem. How about skilled labor in evacuating empty containers in terminals to create more space on the docks? This too, is a problem due to the shortage of skilled labor. Loaded import containers continue to unload and congestion at the terminals becomes elevated. Cargo immovability is at no fault of the truckers and their customers, and trucking communities are working tirelessly to maintain steady cargos. Full participation of ocean carriers is imminent to help resolve these unsurmountable hurdles. Covid-19 has created a disruption in the supply chain and our economy is still trying to recover. Enforcing detention and demurrage charges are additional costs that will further collide with businesses and their recovery efforts.  FMC’s constructional support to help alleviate unwanted costs on exporters, importers, and consumers is crucial.

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