Covid-19 impact: Maersk Line announces waiver of detention charges on import shipments till April 7

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on March 29, 2020

File photo   -  P Manoj

All commodities will be covered under the blanket-free time period

Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, has announced waiver of container detention charges on all its import shipments into India till April 7. This comes after the Government imposed a three weeks nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Coronavirus. The move hasdisrupted trade.

The announcement follows an order issued by the Director General (DG) of Shipping on Saturday, advising shipping lines not to impose container detention charges on import shipments till April 7 “for the smooth functioning of trade and maintenance of supply chain in the country”.

The DG Shipping Amitabh Kumar also advised lines to desist from collecting “any new or additional charges”.

More carriers are expected to announce waiver of container detention charges heeding the advice of DG Shipping.

India’s maritime regulator acknowledged that some delays in evacuation of goods from the ports have become inevitable due to the disturbance of downstream services.

“As a result of these developments, some cargo owners have either suspended their operations or are finding it difficult to transport goods/cargo and complete the paper work, resulting in detention of containers without their fault”, the DG Shipping wrote in the order.

Maersk Line said the blanket detention free time is applicable only to imports into India and Nepal. It also covers shipments to inland container depots (ICDs).

All commodities will be covered under the blanket-free time period.

Some cargo owners will temporarily cease operations or face challenges in transportation and documentation procedures during this period resulting in the disruption of imports and exports, the company said.

“As a special concession to our customers during these challenging times, we will not be charging container detention on all our import shipments into India for the period from 25 March to 7 April (both days inclusive). This will be over and above any existing free time arrangement that is currently availed and agreed as a part of any negotiated contractual terms,” Maersk said in a March 27 customer advisory.

This concession is a one-off gesture during this period for our customers. In the current situation, all partners in the supply chain face significant challenges, whilst Maersk continues to face uncertainties and added costs due to network disruptions in these times. Our invoices will reflect this change for all import delivery orders impacted, the Denmark based line said.

Maersk Line said it was yet to review the detention charges for export customers. “However, we are currently allowing drop off of unused empty containers without charges that may have been picked up prior contingency on a case to case basis,” it said.

Maersk Line has reiterated that the waiver is only applicable to detention.

“Customers who are paying demurrage and/or container freight station (CFS) ground rent charges directly (Ex: direct port delivery or DPD customers) will have to handle this directly with the respective Port/ CFS. In cases where customers are paying demurrage/ ground rent charges via Maersk, then we will endeavour to pass through any waiver/ concessions received by these Port/CFS to our customers”, it added.

Published on March 29, 2020

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