PPAI has reached out to the Federal Maritime Commission regarding its support of a petition for rulemaking from the Coalition for Fair Port Practices. On December 28, the commission published a notice in the Federal Register concerning the petition, which would help bring about more reasonable demurrage and detention practices for cargo moving through U.S. seaports. In its letter to the commission, PPAI urges it to begin a formal rulemaking on the matter as soon as possible.
Incidents of severe congestion at container terminals in U.S. ports and the resulting port delays, whether they involve weather, labor contract negotiations, the arrival of very large ships or other disruptions, are beyond the control of the importer. The coalition’s petition notes that all too frequently, shippers and truckers are being charged demurrage and detention penalties for late pickup or return of containers when it is not their fault. If the terminal is closed during normal working hours, or if a container is unavailable for pickup during the free time period due to congestion or other disruption at the port, carriers and terminals should not assess demurrage. The same is true for detention charges when attempts to return an empty container are frustrated. These are real costs that hurt American businesses and American competitiveness.
The Coalition for Fair Port Practices has proposed a policy statement that would help to stop this practice to the commission, as it has the authority to ensure that demurrage and detention practices are fair and reasonable. PPAI’s letter encourages the commission to grant the petition and open a rulemaking on the coalition’s policy statement to ensure that U.S. imports and exports are not burdened with unfair demurrage and detention charges.
PPAI asks industry members to add their voice in encouraging the Federal Maritime Commission to consider rule making for fair port practices.