A US administrative law judge on Friday ordered Hapag-Lloyd to pay a California drayage provider $822,220 in civil damages stemming from a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) investigation into whether the carrier improperly assessed detention charges on 11 containers in mid-2021.
In justifying the amount of the penalty, the FMC’s Bureau of Enforcement (BOE) determined that Hapag-Lloyd acted “knowingly and willfully…[in]…imposing and refusing to waive detention charges where there were insufficient appointments to return these empty containers.”
The detention charges, assessed by Hapag-Lloyd’s North America agent to Golden State Logistics (GSL), amounted to $10,135.
At the heart of the case is whether Hapag-Lloyd recognized that GSL was actively attempting to return empty containers to the appropriate terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. GSL asserted in a December claim against the shipping line that it could not make appointments to return the empties, despite repeated attempts and despite using a technology platform called BlueCargo that aggregates and displays empty appointment availability across all terminals in LA-LB.
The drayage provider further asserted that attempts to have the detention fees waived were denied or ignored by Hapag-Lloyd.
Source: JOC Newsletters