Can technology eliminate Double Charging for Detention and Demurrage?

Can technology eliminate Double Charging for Detention and Demurrage?

The maritime supply chain is critical to America’s economy and national security, and that point could not be more evident than it is today. Sometimes it takes a major disruption to highlight vulnerabilities. In the recent times, the maritime ecosystem in the USA has seen discord between shipping lines and exporters. Major disruption in the US supply chain has brought complaints from US shippers and other stakeholders about the levels of Detention & Demurrage (D&D) charges and lack of export options in general.

As per reports, liners are charging for detention and demurrage even after the shippers have returned the containers. Some exporters claim this to be the classic example of redundant data entry caused due to manual errors. For small exporters it’s like jumping out of frying pan into the fire, where they are forced to fight or pay these incorrect invoices as this may affect cargo at overseas by delayed pick-up. Moreover, it is believed the reason behind this chaos is lack of communication among the stakeholders. Also, it leads to delay in operations, unnecessary cost spent and unharmonized processes. The industry for years, has been warned of the fragility of this system.

US international ocean freight delivery system is unprepared to deal with the growing volumes of cargo, fuelled by e-commerce, imports and exports, flowing through major ports. Its time for the maritime supply chain to invest to increase productivity and enhance resilience Right from digitizing the entire process to eliminating redundant data entries, a Port Community System could harmonize the maritime ecosystem gradually. What technologies and tools does the port community system consists of?

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What is a Port Community System?

Today’s supply chain challenges were not new, but occurred in every peak season and period of cargo surges. No single supply chain actor can rectify the difficulties, which must be addressed through co-ordinated action. Port Community System is an end-end cloud-based platform which enables communication, information/document exchange, and paperless trade. In addition, a community platform enables thorough understanding of regulatory guidelines and ensures the documents are in line with the regulatory frameworks.

What technologies are involved in a Port Community System?


On the back of major disruptions like the global pandemic and the Suez Canal ever given blockage, the shipping industry needs more innovative solutions to traditional supply chain problems. 5G’s ability to turn ports into smart ports built on visibility and predictability can drive the maritime sector forward with new use cases. Remote-controlled ship-to-shore cranes, automated gantry cranes, automated cargo-moving vehicles, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance and drones can all be possible with 5G. Ports are becoming data hubs, enabling monitoring of people, processes and assets throughout the whole shipping supply chain. Collecting and analyzing data in real time will help ports drive new use cases that cover customer experience, labor requirements and costs, and 5G private networks will enable that data generation and gathering. This will offer ports the visibility and predictability that can help them take operations to the next level.


Today, blockchain has huge potential to transform the logistics chain at ports, particularly, and how products/information is produced and exchanged. In Rotterdam, they have installed a field laboratory focused on blockchain technology, with the participation of several banks and universities. The project aims to explore the opportunities offered by this technology in complex port logistics. Another example is the start-up T-Mining, which has developed a secure system for container pick-up. It is already in operation at the PSA Terminal in Antwerp. On the other hand, the transport company Maersk has also taken the leap toward blockchain technology. Along with IBM, they have developed a system to track the content of their sea containers, to reduce bureaucratic procedures and improve traceability.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning:

Predictive and cognitive capabilities is the need of the hour for all stakeholders in the logistics fraternity. Especially for the transportation companies to identify faster routes to reach the port terminal. Terminal Operators having advanced information on cargo movement are guaranteed with the existing slot booking, port community system frameworks the same is powered by AI/ML. In the new normal, the frameworks will have applications that are compatible with regulatory guidelines and rapid alert resolution workflows.

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