NCC joined various agriculture and transportation-related groups on Monday in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow requesting that they seek the adoption of a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Interpretive Rule that would address detention and demurrage penalties currently being imposed by ocean carriers on overseas shipments.

Currently, ocean carriers and terminal operators are imposing detention and demurrage charges when ocean freight containers cannot be returned or picked up within a short “free time” window, even when the delay is caused by the ocean carriers or terminals themselves. The FMC investigated the fees over the course of three years and unanimously voted in August 2019 to publish an Interpretive Rule providing guidance on these charges.

The letter requests that Secretary Perdue and Director Kudlow convey to FMC the need for finalization of the Interpretive Rule as adopted as soon as possible. Doing so would provide guidance for when a detention or demurrage charge may or may not be fairly imposed.

The letter can be found here.