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Statement from Commissioner Maffei on Formal Investigation into Detention and Demurrage

March 7, 2018

Commissioner Daniel B. Maffei voted in support of launching Fact Finding 28, an investigation into the practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators related to detention, demurrage, and per diem charges.

Commissioner Daniel B. Maffei released the following statement regarding the Federal Maritime Commission’s (Commission’s) vote to launch an investigation into practices for charging detention, demurrage, and per diem:

“When the Coalition for Fair Port Practices filed its Petition regarding detention and demurrage practices with the Commission, they brought to the forefront a major issue plaguing the maritime industry today. From the beginning I was a huge proponent of holding a hearing as an initial step towards untangling the complex issues raised in the Petition. During the hearing, the Commission heard extensive testimony from both sides of the issue and attempted to determine if any common ground existed. Ultimately, the testimony raised more questions than answers, leaving the Commission in a position where it would be irresponsible to make a final decision on the Petition without first establishing a stronger factual record.

While many questions remain after the hearing, I do believe it effectively established that the practices surrounding detention and demurrage charges can be out-of-date, confusing, inconsistent, and, in my view, often unfair. This week the Commission unanimously took the next step towards corrective action through a comprehensive Order of Investigation that will bring all the relevant facts to light. The Commission’s action should not be characterized as sweeping this important issue under the rug; to the contrary, our commitment to fully addressing this issue in a timely manner is evidenced by the comprehensive scope and rapid timetable set forth in the Order of Investigation.”

Daniel B. Maffei 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.