Lots of news about demurrage lately. Just a few weeks after New York and New Jersey terminals announced that they would be raising their demurrage rates, the Federal Maritime Commission issued a proposed interpretive rule that seeks to set reasonable practices in how demurrage and detention policies are communicated and carried out.

This is welcome news for most of the transportation industry—probably less so for the terminal operators and cargo carriers that have been profiting from the free time shell game.

Port congestion, poor communication on container availability and unfair/unclear rules on when demurrage or detention fees kick in have long combined to make container import a costly hassle for shippers and consignees.

Our customers have found that using a broker to juggle the competing timelines of container availability, trucker availability and equipment pickup/return ends up providing enormous cost savings. We’re able to help in a few specific ways:

  • We track and trace equipment so that we can schedule trucking right on time and avoid costly delays
  • We provide an online portal to keep customers updated on equipment availability, pick up and return
  • We use automated reporting to look at live and historical data to help identify trends and possible corrective actions.
  • We offer solutions (link to previous article) to manage flow of containers on high volume lanes

We look forward to improved fairness and transparency on demurrage and detention policies and encourage participation in the commenting process that is currently scheduled to remain open until October 17th.  It’s not yet clear when the new rule would go into effect so let us help you thread that scheduling needle in the meantime.