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Baltimore port crisis: World’s largest container ship company, MSC, dumps diverted cargo problem on US companies

Baltimore port bridge collapsed on container ship

March 28, 2024
Lori Ann LaRocco

MSC, the largest ocean carrier in the world, has joined the list of ocean carriers terminating the delivery of diverted containers outside of the port for shipping clients as a result of the container ship accident near the Port of Baltimore that led to the tragic bridge collapse. With the Baltimore port indefinitely closed, the decision places the onus of cargo pick up at a diverted port and transport to its final destination on the shipper.

In an email to customers obtained by CNBC on Thursday, MSC explained that for customer containers already on the water bound for the Port of Baltimore, cargo will be rerouted and discharged at an alternate port where it will be made available for pick-up.

Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal at ITS Logistics, said the greatest challenges may be experienced by smaller companies that coordinate the bookings themselves and may not have relationships at these diverted ports. “You want to get your diverted container out of the port as soon as possible so you don’t incur any detention and demurrage fees. For some of these shippers they are starting from scratch,” Brashier said.

Once a container arrives at a terminal, the clock begins ticking on the free time allocated to a container. Once that free time expires, detention and demurrage fees start unless ports agree to waive them.

“We are looking to see if terminals will either give an extension of free time or waive the fees,” Brashier told CNBC on Wednesday. “That’s the rub right now.”

Read the full article here.

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