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FMC Checking Ocean Carrier & MTO Compliance on Per Diem Charges

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is checking the compliance of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) with the recent ruling on per diem charges. This action comes after the FMC issued a Final Rule on demurrage and detention practices in late 2020. Per diem charges are fees imposed by ocean carriers and MTOs for containers that are not returned to the port or terminal within a specified period of time. These charges are intended to encourage prompt return of containers and to prevent congestion at the port or terminal. The FMC's Final Rule, which went into effect on April 26, 2021, clarified that per diem charges are only permitted if they are "reasonable and necessary to compensate the ocean carrier or MTO for costs incurred as a result of the disruption of the normal cargo flow." The rule also requires that carriers and MTOs provide clear notice of their per diem policies and that shippers have a "reasonable opportunity" to return containers without incurring per diem charges. Since the Final Rule went into effect, the FMC has received complaints from shippers that ocean carriers and MTOs have continued to impose unreasonable per diem charges. The FMC is now checking to ensure that these charges comply with the Final Rule and that carriers and MTOs are providing clear notice of their per diem policies. In a statement, the FMC emphasized that it "will not tolerate practices that violate the Final Rule" and that it is "committed to ensuring that the rules are followed and that shippers are treated fairly." The FMC has also indicated that it may take enforcement action against carriers and MTOs that do not comply with the Final Rule. The FMC is taking action to ensure that ocean carriers and MTOs are complying with the Final Rule on demurrage and detention practices, including the regulation of per diem charges. The FMC's goal is to ensure that shippers are treated fairly and that the rules are followed.

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