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On April 6th, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced the adoption of a final rule in Demurrage Billing Requirements, Docket No. EP 759. The final rule comes after two years of investigation of current demurrage policies. GCCA testified at an STB hearing in 2019 and provided written comments requesting that the STB take action to reform demurrage policies. GCCA and other rail users expressed concerns that demurrage invoices were confusing, difficult to verify, and lacking in basic information about the shipments covered.
The final rule, which goes into effect in October 2021, establishes certain minimum information requirements for demurrage bills from Class I railroads, including billing cycle, shipment, car placement, and credit and debit information. The minimum information adopted in the final rule represents what the Board has determined will have the greatest impact on the ability of rail users to review and verify the accuracy of demurrage charges and facilitate the resolution of disputes between railroads and their customers. GCCA applauds the STB’s actions set forth in the final rule to improve the transparency, clarity, uniformity, and accessibility of demurrage invoices. We believe that these changes will ultimately improve the demurrage process and lessen unnecessary burdens on the third-party logistics industry.