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Wicker Supports New FMC Guidance to Improve Freight Fluidity

[ April 30, 2020   //   ]

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued new guidance about how it will assess the reasonableness of detention and demurrage regulations and practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators.

“I believe the approach of the final interpretive rule is correct,” said Wicker. “Detention and demurrage fees that do not promote efficiency impose unreasonable costs and significant burdens on the U.S. supply chain. I support the Commission’s efforts to ensure our ocean transportation system remains competitive.”

Under the new interpretive rule, the FMC will consider the extent to which detention and demurrage charges and policies serve their primary purpose of incentivizing the movement of cargo and promoting freight fluidity. The rule also provides guidance on how the Commission may apply that principle in the context of cargo availability (and notice thereof) and empty container return.

The interpretive rule is one of the recommendations from Fact Finding Investigation No. 28 led by Commissioner Rebecca Dye. In addition to the interpretive rule, she also recommend that the Commission establish a Shipper Advisory Committee and continue to support the work of the Supply Chain Innovation Team in Memphis.

In November 2019, Wicker sent a letter to FMC Chairman Michael Khouri asking to be updated on the Memphis Supply Chain Innovation Team. Additionally, Wicker introduced S. 2894, Federal Maritime Commission National Shipper Advisory Committee Act of 2019, which establishes the advisory committee recommended by Commissioner Dye. The National Shipper Advisory Committee will advise the FMC on policies relating to the competitiveness, reliability, integrity, and fairness of the international ocean freight delivery system.

The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the FMC.

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