The head of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has called for ocean carriers to stop the practice of forcing shippers and truckers to store containers and then charging them.
In a visit to truckers and marine terminal operations at the Port of New York and New Jersey, FMC chairman Dan Maffei said the organisation was examining the issue – and that carriers rather than shippers should be the ones to pick up the bill for the storage of delayed containers.
‘The [FMC] has already been investigating reports of carriers charging per diem container charges even when the shipper or trucker cannot possibly return the container due to terminal congestion,’ said Maffei in a statement. ‘I will ask that this investigation be broadened and intensified to cover instances where shippers and truckers are being forced to store containers or move them without proper compensation.
‘When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies and the port itself.’
Maffei added he would work hard ‘to ensure that carriers do not receive involuntarily subsidised storage for empty containers that belong to them. If it can be shown that a shipper or a trucker is not allowed to return a container then, not only should they not be charged per diem, but the carrier should compensate that trucker for the space it takes up.’
Maffei was making the visit in response to reported congestion issues at the port. According to a news report on Safety4sea.com, volumes have risen by 12 per cent this year against the same period of 2021, and 34 per cent on 2019.