Two shipping companies were fined $265 million for violating the Maritime Reform Act
Two shipping companies fined $265 million for breaking Maritime Reform Act
AMZ23 learned that the United States Federal Maritime Commission stated last week that logistics carriers Ocean Network Express and Wan Hai Lines were fined $2.65 million for unreasonable pricing related to demurrage and empty container returns, and agreed to refund affected shippers.
The agency found that both carriers violated the terms of the 2022 Ocean Shipping Reform Act. In addition to the fines, the carriers will also provide compensation to affected shippers in the form of refunds and waivers.
ONE agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.7 million to settle charges of assessing detention charges, even when equipment was not returned by shippers without appointments. Carriers will also “provide compensation to affected shippers in the form of refunds and waivers,” according to the FMC statement.
Meanwhile, Wan Hai Lines agreed to pay $950,000 because it was accused of failing to implement reasonable pricing practices for empty container returns. The company has taken corrective measures and refunded all detention fees charged according to relevant invoices to affected shippers.
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The FMC stated that ONE and Wan Hai Shipping both did not admit to any wrongdoing.
“The agreement announced today sends a clear message to the international shipping community that ocean carriers must fully comply with their legal obligations in the United States,” said Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel B. Maffei in a statement. “I commend our enforcement and investigative bureaus, and their hard work in compliance, which has led to meaningful civil penalties and relieved the burden on affected shippers.”
At the announcement of the fines, the FMC increased its investigation into the shipping industry. Since signing the OSRA, the agency has received more than 280 complaints and expects more to come.
Other carriers have fallen into complaints and settlements. In a recent complaint shared by FMC in May, CertiFit claimed that Evergreen Shipping refused to fulfill its service contract during the pandemic, stating that it “failed to provide space at the price specified in the contract.”
BusinessDialogue understands that these two overseas airlines are not the only companies to have proposed settlement agreements. In June of last year, Hapag-Lloyd paid a $2 million civil penalty related to its demurrage and detention fees.
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