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CMA CGM to collect container maintenance fee instead of container deposit on PH imports

  • Starting Jan 15, CMA CGM will collect container maintenance fee in lieu of container deposit on all Philippine imports
  • The maintenance fee applies to all import shipments carried by shipping lines under the CMA CGM group, including CNC, ANL and APL
  • The deposit fee will be waived upon payment of the maintenance fee, to be collected at destination and paid by the consignee
  • The maintenance fee will cover equipment damage per unit from US$1 up to $250
  • Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. president Adones Carmona said a container maintenance fee is better because it is billed to the consignee and is lower than the average P15,000 container deposit required by shipping lines

Starting mid-January French carrier CMA CGM will collect a container maintenance fee instead of a container deposit on all imports into the Philippines.

Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) president Adones Carmona welcomed the development, telling PortCalls the new fee is better because it is billed directly to the consignee and is “very much lower” than the average P15,000 container deposit required by shipping lines.

“Effective 15 January 2021 (arrival date), we are introducing a Container Maintenance Fee in lieu of collecting container deposit fee in Philippines,” the carrier said in an advisory dated December 14.

This is intended to improve services by reducing administrative work in the processing and managing of container deposits, it said.

The container maintenance fee applies to all import shipments for all brands under the CMA CGM Group, including CNC, ANL and APL, and will be as follows:

  • 20-footer – P1,000
  • 40-footer – P1,500
  • 20-footer reefer – P2,000
  • 40-footer reefer – P2,500

The deposit fee will be waived by default upon payment of maintenance fee, which will be collected at destination.

The maintenance fee will be paid by the consignee and reflected on the import bill of lading (B/L) charges, except in cases of special agreements.

The container maintenance fee will cover equipment damage per unit from US$1 up to $250. Any damage/repair in excess of $250 per unit will be systematically billed to the consignee named on the B/L.

The payment of container maintenance fee does not apply to shipper-owned container (SOC).

In case the consignee does not avail of the maintenance fee, the standard deposit fee will apply, and a credit note will be issued to refund the maintenance fee to the consignee.

CCBI said CMA CGM’s new policy is in response to the group’s push to eliminate container deposits.

Carmona said he hopes other shipping lines would follow the carrier’s lead.

The return of container deposits to consignees and to customs brokers—who shoulder the deposits as a value-added service to their client consignees—has long been an issue among industry stakeholders.

Foreign shipping lines started requiring container deposits in 1995 after many instances of importers not returning empty containers, which are vital parts of a container ship.

Association of International Shipping Lines general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz earlier said there had been no problems with container deposits until returning them to importers started slowing down.

Stakeholders have reported some shipping lines taking months, even years, to return their container deposits. The issue has been a topic of several discussions between AISL, stakeholders’ groups, and the government.

READ: Lower House eyes swift ok of bill regulating foreign carriers’ shipping charges

The Department of Trade and Industry last year tried to address the problem with a proposed joint administrative order, which did not push through. Several bills and a resolution have also been filed in the Lower House seeking the removal of container deposits or their return to the importer within 15 days. So far none of the measures has prospered. – Roumina Pablo

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