FMC Checking for Compliance with Per Diem Charges Ruling

Image: Federal Maritime Commission.

The Federal Maritime Commission announced in late March that it was “actively seeking information” to confirm that ocean carriers and marine terminal operators are complying with the law following a decision it issued addressing when per diem detention charges can be billed.

In its decision issued last December regarding “TCW Inc. v. Evergreen Shipping Agency Corp. & Evergreen Line Joint Service Agreement,” the Commission stated that the charging of per-diem when a port was closed, and equipment could not be returned, was unjust and unreasonable.

In the recent TCW v. Evergreen case, the Commission ordered Evergreen to “cease and desist from imposing per diem charges when imposition of per diem charges does not serve its incentivizing purposes, such as when empty equipment cannot be returned on weekends, holidays, and port closures.”

In its March announcement, the Commission said that through its Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) audit program, it was contacting the 11 largest ocean carriers calling the United States to confirm that the shipping lines are adjusting their demurrage and detention practices accordingly.

The Maritime Commission also said that separate outreach effort to marine terminal operators was being conducted simultaneously to ensure that they’re fully complying with the May 2020 rule clarifying how the Commission interprets statutory prohibitions against unjust or unreasonable regulations and practices on receiving, handling, storing or delivering property.