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The British International Freight Association has said that freight forwarders and shippers are reeling from demurrage fees linked to congestion around the world.



Robert keen, Director General at British International Freight Association said that shippers and freight forwarders “Should not be penalised by demurrage and detention practices when circumstances are such that they cannot retrieve containers from, or return containers to, marine terminals because, under those circumstances, the charges cannot serve their incentive function.”

The Federal Maritime Commision, (FMC) found that after a six year investigation, “there had most likely been a long history of unjust and unfair demurrage and detention practices,” said BIFA.

Daniel B. Maffei, Commissioner at the FMC said: “There are reports that some carriers are threatening high charges for failure to return empty containers on time, even in cases where congestion has made it difficult or impossible to do so.”

Keen added: “If the FMC has identified demurrage and detention practices that are likely to be considered as unjust for the USA, these practices are also unjust and unreasonable for the rest of the world.”

He added: “Governments must therefore have greater scrutiny over demurrage and detention practices to ensure that they are considerate and reasonable for the good of their own economies.

“It is crucial to ensure fluidity and good function of the supply chain, in unprecedented times as illustrated by COVID-19 and the chaotic state of international container shipping at present.”

BIFA is therefore encouraging policy makers to consider FMC’s finding for consideration when assessing the reasonableness of demurrage and detention fees.