During the last few years, free time periods for containers have been reduced and tariffs for demurrage and detention have increased considerably. Shipping lines justified shorter free time periods with the need to increase fluidity and help to ease port congestion.
FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, urges shipping lines to review and reinstate the current free time periods back to pre-pandemic levels. Whilst the decision to reduce the free time periods was one-sided, market conditions have in the meantime changed, and justifications for status quo no longer remain valid.
FIATA notes that it is the obligation of shipping lines to provide a reasonable free period to allow merchants sufficient time for:
- the loading and delivery of the container for an export
- the pick-up, unloading and return of the empty container for an import.
FIATA calls for detention and demurrage practices to be in line with the velocity principle, with multi-stakeholder coordination to respond to market needs in a timely manner to strengthen supply chain resilience. Now is the time to act to optimise container movements and improve container quality for future use.