The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom

News

Commissioner Dye Discusses Carrier Service Contract Filing Exemption & Fact Finding 28 at NCBFAA Conference

September 25, 2018

On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, Commissioner Rebecca Dye spoke at the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s (NCBFAA) government affairs conference about the petition recently filed by the World Shipping Council (WSC) to exempt ocean carriers from the current requirement to file service contracts with the FMC, and about the newly published Fact Finding 28 Interim Report on the FMC’s investigation into demurrage and detention practices at US ports.

Commissioner Dye noted that the WSC petition followed on the heels of the FMC’s decision to exempt NVOCCs from the filing requirement for NVOCC service contract arrangements. She said that, given that in 2017 alone carriers filed over 47,000 new service contracts and 766,000 amendments, she was sympathetic to the petition. “I think a fresh look – subject to the required competition and impact on commerce considerations – is appropriate.”

Commissioner Dye also mentioned that carrier automated tariff regulations were another area that she hoped the Commission would review in the foreseeable future.

In discussing the Interim Report covering phase one of the fact finding investigation, Dye remarked that “accurate and timely access to information about cargo availability” had been identified as a central issue.

Dye pointed out that the various topics high-lighted in the Interim Report were based on her staff’s analysis of the data, information and documents that the Commission had received from major international liner companies and marine terminal operators serving the top 15 US container ports. “Those lines and terminals were directed to provide detailed information about their detention and demurrage practices,” she said. “We also asked a range of questions about their billing and dispute resolution practices.”

The Commissioner stated that the FMC does not intend to tell carriers and marine terminals how much they can “reasonably” charge for demurrage and detention, or how many free days they must “reasonably” offer. “That’s what markets and commercial negotiations are for,” she declared. “Our intent is to make sure that demurrage and detention practices are clear to, and performing well for all parties involved.”

Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are her own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.