In massive 200-page court filing, a group of 25 business associations representing US importers and exporters, forwarders and other logistics service providers have requested the Federal Maritime Commission to change policy to prevent shipping lines and terminal operators “charging unfair fees when uncontrollable incidents such as storms and strikes keep cargo from being picked up from ports on time”. Citing events such as the US west coast port congestion crisis of 2015, the filing alleges that millions of dollars in demurrage, detention and per diem charges have all been unfairly applied to shippers unable to pick up their containers within the allotted time frame. One shipper was charged $80,000 after taking “nine days to retrieve containers when only four free days were allowed”, while a trucking firm was charged $1.2m “after long lines at New York and New Jersey ports kept it from returning containers on time”.

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