The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) confirmed that it had received more than 175 complaints from shippers and freight forwarders against shipping lines regarding shipping surcharges since June, following the introduction of the new Maritime Transport Reform Law of 2022, Alphaliner reports.
The FMC said US shippers and freight forwarders had “responded positively” to the new opportunity to challenge the shipping lines’ charges. Although the Commission did not specify the nature of the complaints, shippers, freight forwarders and truckers had been particularly focused on the rise in stop and delay (D&D) charges during the pandemic, Alphaliner reports.
According to the shipping analyst report, the FMC also published new interim procedures for reviewing, investigating and adjudicating carrier charge complaints. The experience gained from these procedures will form the basis of the ongoing process.
As long as a charge report is “refined” with sufficient information and detail, it will be investigated by the FMC’s Bureau of Investigations. The outcome of the investigation could lead to an order for the common carrier to show why it should not refund fees or charges paid, or waive the fees in question, Alphaliner adds.
Finally, it mentions that the FMC will then decide if the charge qualifies, or if a refund or waiver is due, and if a separate civil penalty proceeding applies.