The five marine terminals that are members of the New York Terminal Conference — Red Hook Container Terminal, GCT Bayonne, GCT New York, Port Newark Container Terminal and APM Terminals — have published on their websites a revised conference schedule that will go into effect Oct. 1.
The new schedule sets forth updated rates and terms their customers must comply with in the absence of an executed agreement with the terminal. For example, import containers get four days of free time and export containers get five days of free time. After free time expires, demurrage charges start to accrue and the daily charge gradually increases the longer a container is at a terminal. The updated agreement calls for charges to increase by $5 per day on Oct. 1. So under the new schedule, the charge is $170 per day for days one to four, increasing to $220 per day for days five to nine, and $380 per day for days 10 and above.
Michael Cavanaugh, a partner at the law firm Holland & Knight and agent for the conference, explained the NYTC is a Federal Maritime Conference (FMC) agreement that includes most of the larger container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The other major terminal in the port, Maher, publishes its tariff separately.
“We do an annual review and update of the rates, generally to cover CPI (consumer price index) escalation, and publish the new rate 45 days in advance of the effective date,” he said.
“The way the Shipping Act works, a marine terminal serving ocean common carriers (i.e., container ship lines) or a group of terminals may publish a standard rate schedule which applies to all users. The rates cover dockage, wharfage, loading and handling of cargo, storage and numerous other fees for services at the terminal. Any carrier using the terminal is entitled to those rates,” he explained.
“However, under the Shipping Act and FMC regulations, a terminal may also enter a ‘terminal services agreement’ or ‘TSA’ with a carrier in which the carrier and terminal can agree on confidential rates for any and all services that may be different than the published rate schedule rates. These TSAs are subject to a filing exemption under the FMC regulations. The parties can file it and get Shipping Act antitrust immunity or not file it and keep it confidential but not get the antitrust protection,” Cavanaugh added.