Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, has extended the period on waiver of container detention charges on all its import shipments into India till April 14, when the three weeks nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to slow the spread of coronavirus, ends.
Last week, the Denmark-headquartered carrier had announced waiver of container detention charges pan India till April 7.
“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, Nepal and Bhutan for the period from March 22 to April 14 (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 Line said in a customer advisory on April 2.
“This concession is a one-off gesture during contingency for our customers 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 advisory said.
Taking a cue from Maersk Line, India’s Director General of Shipping advised shipping lines, through an order issued on March 29, not to impose container detention charges on import and export shipments from March 22 to April 14 “for the smooth functioning of trade and maintenance of supply chain in the country”.
DG Shipping Amitabh Kumar also advised lines to desist from collecting “any new or additional charges” during this period.
Maersk Line said the blanket detention free-time is applicable only to imports into India, Nepal and Bhutan. It also covers shipments to inland container depots (ICDs).
All commodities will be covered under the blanket free-time period.
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.