MSC has updated its policy on how it bills customers, the ocean carrier told customers Tuesday, less than a week after the Federal Maritime Commission announced it is investigating detention and demurrage compliance.
In an emailed customer notification, the company said, “MSC will not assess demurrage, detention or per diem charges for any day in which a terminal is closed due to holidays, weekends, or other port closure events.”
The carrier also noted that “working days” where per diem charges would apply include holidays and weekends in which marine terminal operators are open for business.
The updated policy follows last week's announcement from the FMC that it was asking ocean carriers for details on detention and demurrage compliance. The federal agency is actively requesting details from 11 carriers and marine terminal operators proving that their detention and demurrage surcharges abide by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.
The change in MSC's billable days policy aims to streamline the company's detention and demurrage procedures and also "takes into consideration recent experiences throughout the pandemic that have impacted port operations," the company said in a statement to Supply Chain Dive Thursday.
MSC also said it is in regular contact with the FMC and looks forward to “maintaining this productive working relationship as we serve the needs of U.S. businesses and farmers to access global markets.”
The renovated policy is also similar to the FMC’s December order from TCW v. Evergreen Shipping Agency & Evergreen Line. The agency ruled detention charges were unreasonable when equipment isn’t available to be returned when ports are closed for business, or on holiday.
Editor’s note: The story has been updated with comment from MSC.