FMC Invites Comments on Benefits of New Demurrage & Detention Rule

Member Updates , Port Bureau News ,

An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("ANPRM") approved by the Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC” or "Commission") asks the public if a new rule governing demurrage and detention billing practices would benefit the trade and should apply to marine terminal operators and non-vessel operating common carriers in addition to vessel-operating common carriers.

Specifically, the Commission is considering the merits of establishing regulations mandating certain minimum information be included in bills issued for demurrage and detention charges and prescribing the maximum period in which an invoice can be sent. Additionally, the Commission is seeking industry views on whether it should regulate the demurrage and detention billing practices of 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 ANPRM is being issued in response to information developed by Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye as part of her work leading Fact Finding 29. In July 2021, she identified issuing an ANPRM on these topics as one of the Interim Recommendations provided to the Commission on how the agency can address complaints and issues related to demurrage and detention.

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 this 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.