FMC planning to act on complaints against carriers
The Federal Maritime Commission is preparing to ramp up investigations into carriers this year following two years of congestion and high fees in the shipping industry.
The FMC is currently working through more than 200 complaints against carriers.
“When a delay is manageable, it tends to take away a lot of the issues related to both detention and demurrage and other issues,” said FMC commissioner Carl Bentzel in a recent statement. “But we haven’t seen it yet.”
Complaints are still coming in as freight rates plummet and port congestion disappears.
Even with lower rates, shippers are still seeing some of the same problems they saw in 2021 and most of 2022.
Mr Bentzel stated the agency is prioritising rising demurrage and detention fees. “There’s a bunch of cats and dogs that I’m looking at,” said Mr Bentzel.
One of the top complaints from shippers continues to be rising demurrage and detention fees. Both are implemented when cargo is stored on cargo docks for longer than a set period of time.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act requires carriers to provide more details on detention and demurrage charges.
“Ports are not storage facilities,” said Mr Bentzel. Beyond demurrage, he noted that the FMC is investigating issues related to intermodal chassis.
“This is a circumstance where there are no equipment [at terminals], and they want to bring in their own equipment,” he said.