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Detention And Demurrage Petition Gains Strong Support
Kinghood International Logistics Inc | Updated: Feb 22, 2017

   A dozen forwarders, custom house brokers and shippers' 

associations have sent letters supporting a petition filed in 

December with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) that asked the 

agency to address fees imposed on shippers when they can't pick-up 

and return cargo, containers and chassis for reasons beyond their 


   The petition was filed by the Coalition for Fair Port Practices, a 

group of 25 members that represent shippers, receivers, motor 

carriers, port draymen, freight forwarders, third-party logistics 

companies and customs brokers.

   The FMC has invited comments to be submitted by Feb. 28, and has 

been posting them on the docket website.

   Companies supporting the petition include: Unipac Shipping Inc., 

Mersant International, and B&H Customs Services, all of which are 

located in New York City; EWC Global Logistics of Rockville Center, 

N.Y.; Charlotte Customhouse Brokers Inc. of Davidson, N.C.; John A. 

Steer Co. of Philadelphia; Pride International of Baltimore; Western 

Overseas Corp. of Long Beach, Calif.; John S. James Co. of Savannah, 

Ga.; Eur-A-Med Shipping Ltd. of Charleston, S.C.; and the American 

Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) of Memphis, Tenn.

   ACSA President and CEO William May said the policy statement 

requested by the coalition in December “would help bring about more 

reasonable demurrage and detention practices for cargo moving through 

our nation’s seaports.”

   He said, “Our members have experienced repeated incidents of 

severe congestion at container terminals in ports on both the West 

Coast and East Coast in different crop marketing years, which have 

prevented our members from delivery of their cargo to the terminal."

   That section which is found in U.S. Code Section 41102(c) says, “

A common carrier, marine terminal operator, or ocean transportation 

intermediary may not fail to establish, observe, and enforce just and 

reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with 

receiving, handling, storing or delivering property.”

   EWC President Patrick Caulfield said, “The existing system of 

arguing with the carriers or ports over the propriety of receiving 

demurrage or detention bills in these circumstances or, if the 

carrier or ports refuse to listen, in challenging the bills at the 

Commission, even with the assistance of the Consumer Affairs Dispute 

Resolution Service, is consuming and unwieldy.

    “For that reason, we believe the Commission should consider 

adopting a policy or rule, as proposed by the Coalition, that makes 

it clear that it would be inappropriate for the carriers and MTOs to 

assess demurrage and detention charges in situations where the delays 

are clearly beyond the control or fault of the OTIs and their 

customers," he added.

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