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FMC Questions Port Congestion Surcharges Continued

FMC Questions Port Congestion Surcharges Continued

By: Joseph Bonney  |  November 18 2014

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero said ocean carriers’ West Coast port congestion surcharges shouldn’t apply to cargo already in transit, and that the FMC will examine whether there’s a “solid basis” for the charges.Angry shippers have deluged the FMC with complaints. Cordero said he spoke Monday with a Texas shipper who asked how carriers could suddenly levy a congestion surcharge for containers stuck inside a gridlocked port terminal.

Carriers contend they met the 30-day notice requirement for imposing new charges when they filed the potential surcharges months ago, and that they can activate the charges immediately. Cordero said that’s an issue that merits FMC scrutiny.Shippers also have complained about the amounts of the surcharges, which in many cases are more than half the basic per-container rate under service contracts.

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