Ms Dye also recommended that the agency give advanced notice of proposed rulemaking requiring carriers and marine terminals to provide a minimum level of information on detention and demurrage billings, and to set requirements for timing of such billing.
Notably, the US Surface Transportation Board in April approved a rule requiring 'certain minimum information on or with demurrage invoices' and 'machine-readable access to the minimum information.' The FMC is considering whether a similar rule is appropriate for container shipping, and the agency doesn't require Congress to amend shipping law to enact such regulation.
Container lines and marine terminals levy fees when shippers and consignees fail to pick up imports after allotted storage times expire and when container equipment is returned late. Shipper and trucker frustration with such fees when port congestion or other factors prevent them from picking up cargo or returning equipment has been a long-time issue, but US port congestion has increased pressure on US regulators to police more aggressively.
FMC chairman Daniel Maffei praised the recommendations and the former House representative said he planned to share them with his former colleagues in Congress.
'One of the things we have found is that there is a huge misunderstanding of the approach to our detention and demurrage rule. Most entities are falling back on the idea of 'fault,' which we know leads you to an unproductive place,' said Ms Dye, referring to the agency's interpretive rule that views such cases based on whether they encourage cargo flow or are simply punitive.
The fact that Ms Dye is recommending Congress expand anti-retaliation protection and beef up reparations reflects a growing expectation that legislators will rewrite the Shipping Act of 1984. A bipartisan bill that would overhaul shipping regulation has already been drafted, but it has yet to be introduced.