03 March 2023


On 28 February, FIATA issued a press release urging shipping lines to review and reinstate the current free time periods back to no less than feasible, pre-pandemic levels. During the last few years, free time periods for containers have been reduced and tariffs for demurrage and detention have increased considerably. However, merchants have been charged detention and demurrage fees even in situations where they had no control over the container turnaround time, despite their best efforts, due to congestion at ports.

Commenting on the press release, CLECAT Director General Nicolette van der Jagt noted: “CLECAT fully supports the press statement issued recently by FIATA calling for reasonable free time for container usage. While we appreciate that demurrage and detention charges are an important tool for the shipping lines to ensure the efficient use of their containers, this must be done in a fair and reasonable manner. The current market conditions, with reduced demand for maritime freight transport, should be matched with longer free-time periods and reduced D&D fees. Such a review by carriers would provide some confidence that demurrage and detention practices are not used as an additional revenue source, but as a tool to incentivise efficiencies in the ocean transportation network, including the retrieval of cargo and return of equipment. The entire supply chain, as well as economies at large, would benefit from a less opaque system with transparent, consistent and reasonable demurrage and detention practices.”

Over the last years, CLECAT has been calling on EU policymakers to ensure that their demurrage and detention charges are proportionate and fair, in the interests of ensuring a level playing field for the fluidity of international trade. This is why we welcome the recent efforts of the US Congress and the US Federal Maritime Commission on cracking down on unjust, unreasonable and unfair D&D fees. The European Commission as well as EU national governments should take example from these developments in the United States to ensure fairness and transparency among all maritime supply chain stakeholders.

Source: FIATA