STB to audit billing of demurrage and detention

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The US Surface Transportation Board (STB) has sent letters to 7 railways to gather information on policies and practices relating to demurrage and detention charges. US regulators are stepping up their monitoring after the Biden administration on July 9 issued an executive order targeting container shipping and railroads, though the latter was centered around giving more shippers access to more than one railroad. In the letter from the STB Chair, Martin Oberman, it implies that the Board is considering actions with respect to the existing intermodal exemption. Intermodal rail in the United States falls into a regulatory grey area. The Federal Maritime Commission doesn’t regulate container shipping on rail, and an exemption keeps the STB at arm’s length from regulating containers and trailers on freight car. Shippers have increasingly encouraged the STB to get more involved in regulating intermodal rail transport.

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