Two federal agencies have issued the following guidance amid continued limitations in operations at the port of Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that in relation to unanticipated cargo diversions, the port of entry cannot be changed in an entry that has been accepted by CBP. Instead, the initial entry summary must be cancelled by CBP and the customs broker will need to file a new entry at the newly-designated port where the diverted shipment will be delivered. Brokers and importers will need to upload a letter to the Document Imaging System stating that the new entry is a duplicate due to unanticipated cargo diversion. CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise will then cancel the initial entry.

Meanwhile, the Federal Maritime Commission has warned ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators that they must continue to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements governing their operations even though shippers may adjust their supply chain operations due to disruptions at the port of Baltimore. Specifically, demurrage and detention fees must be reasonable (i.e., they must serve as legitimate financial incentives to encourage cargo movement) and related invoicing must be lawful. The FMC notes that new statutory requirements for how demurrage and detention bills must be invoiced have been in effect since June 2022 under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 and that an FMC final rule further interpreting and implementing the billing provisions of that law is scheduled to go into effect May 28.

The FMC notes that individuals or entities with concerns about common carrier or MTO compliance with these requirements can seek FMC assistance in various ways. ST&R’s team of former FMC and DOJ litigation personnel, freight forwarders, and former administration and congressional staffers can help with this process. For more information, please contact Jason Kenner (at (212) 549-0137 or via email) or Andy Margolis (at (305) 894-1021 or via email).

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