February 24, 2022

Federal Maritime Commission Invites
Comments: New Demurrage & Detention Rule

On February 4, 2022, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), approved an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), asking the public for comments on a new rule regarding demurrage and detention billing practices.

They request comments on whether the FMC should require certain minimum information in bills issued for demurrage and detention charges and prescribing the maximum period an invoice can be sent. The ANPRM also asks for comments on whether the FMC should require common carriers and marine terminal operators to adhere to certain demurrage and detention billing practices.

Common carriers and marine terminal operators are subject to additional regulations aside from the Shipping Act. Therefore, the FMC is also asking for comments regarding any other law, regulation, or arrangement that could affect the regulation of demurrage and detention billing.

Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye was the Fact Finding Officer for Fact Finding 29, where she provided several recommendations to the FMC to address complaints about the billing practices. One of the recommendations was that the FMC issue an ANPRM on the above issues. The FMC approved the Fact Finding 29 recommendations on September 15, 2021. However, the FMC continues to receive complaints regarding billing practices.

The ANPRM defines the terms demurrage and detention broadly to include any charges assessed by common carriers and marine terminal operators related to the use of marine terminal space or shipping containers. According to the ANPRM, the scope covers charges having the purpose or effect of demurrage or detention regardless of the labels given to those charges.

The ANPRM includes a list of 16 questions if you are interested in providing comments. Responses to those questions that will assist the FMC with deciding if further FMC action is necessary.

The Federal Register Notice (FRN) was published on February 15, 2022. The FRN indicates that comments need to be submitted on or before March 17, 2022. It includes information on how to submit comments to the FMC.

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