Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2023): Storage fees charged by railroads at U.S. interior rail terminals is a form of demurrage, which has cost American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years. Ocean carriers rely on rail and trucking to satisfy delivery obligations. When delays at the railyard occur, rail storage fees are paid directly to the railroad to secure the release of shipments. Unlike ocean terminals, which are incentivized to improve network efficiencies by Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), rail terminals are not subject to oversight by FMC and they are exempt from Surface Transportation Board rules, which do not apply to intermodal transportation. In short, railroads are not governed by the Shipping Act, enforced by the FMC, and rail storage fees have gone unchecked.
SFIA joined 70 other business interests on a letter to Congressional Leaders requesting help in clarifying oversight of rail storage fees. The letter asks for rail storage fees to be billed through ocean carriers and subject to the detention and demurrage requirements of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA22) and subject to FMC oversight.
Click here to view the letter.
For more information or for questions, please contact Bill Sells, SVP, Government & Public Affairs, at [email protected].