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Chairman Michael A. Khouri Statement on Demurrage & Detention Interpretive Rule

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For many years, American importers and exporters, together with critical transport service providers, such as ocean transportation intermediaries and truck operators, have been frustrated by certain business practices employed by container vessel common carriers and marine terminal operators. Ultimately, an industry coalition filed a petition with the Commission requesting a rulemaking.

In response to these complaints, the Commission initiated Fact Finding No. 28 and then began a notice of proposed rulemaking proceeding. I am pleased that the Commission has now voted to approve the final version of the Demurrage and Detention Interpretive Rule. This guidance for industry stakeholders will hopefully result in revised and reformed business practice that, in turn, will lead to improved freight fluidity.

As the Commission moves forward in this area, future actions may include Notices of Inquiry (NOIs) into various focused fact scenarios. These NOIs will be designed to bring public awareness to problematic business practices and provide further clarity to potential applications of the Interpretive Rule. Several such business practices are discussed in the Interpretive Rule’s Supplementary Information.

I want to thank all of the industry officials and executives who participated in Fact Finding No. 28 and contributed their time, energy, and expertise to numerous team meetings and phone conferences over an extended period of time. Thanks also to the many FMC staff members who devoted their time to support this fact-finding initiative and completion of the Interpretive Rule. And many thanks to Commissioner Rebecca Dye who led the Fact Finding No. 28 effort. To all – job well done.

Chairman Michael A. Khouri is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.