The Federal Maritime Commission's Commissioner Rebecca Dye has released key initial observations in the interim report for Fact Finding 28, an investigation into "Conditions and Practices Relating to Detention, Demurrage, and Free Time in International Oceanborne Commerce." The resulting record strongly suggests that concerns about demurrage and detention in US trades are not limited primarily to weather-or-labor-related port congestion in 2014-2015, a small subset of large ports, or episodic events unrelated to potentially systemic issues. Additionally, the record supports further consideration of the benefits to the US international freight delivery system of:
- Transparent, standardized language for demurrage, detention, and free time practices;
- Clarity, simplification, and accessibility regarding demurrage and detention billing practices and dispute resolution processes;
- Explicit guidance regarding types of evidence relevant to resolving demurrage and detention disputes;
- Consistent notice to shippers of container availability;
- An optional billing model wherein
- MTOs bill shippers directly for demurrage; and
- VOCCs bill shippers for detention; and
- an FMC Shipper Advisory or Innovation Team.
The final report for this FMC fact-finding investigation is scheduled for release by Dec. 2.