Demurrage law ratified

The new trucks demurrage proclamation, which transport operators have been pushing for was finally ratified by the parliament. The new regulation is also expected to stimulate the transport and logistics sector, which faces many difficulties in the import/export corridor of the country.
Transport companies and truck owners have been complaining about the transport system and the long delays they face at Djibouti Ports, customs checkpoints, warehouses and loading/unloading areas. However, the new proclamation ratified early this week forces those responsible for the delays to compensate the transporters.
In its introduction the proclamation gives a clear explanation about other countries’ experiences with demurrage, which has yet to be implemented here. The Federal Transport Authority, the regulatory body of the transport sector, may also set cargo tariff (if the Council of Ministers’ approves) that was previously set by transporters and clients.
“This new demurrage law allows the transporter to accelerate the business and solve the sector’s problem. As transport providers do not ask for a fair price, the authority shall set the tariff for the sector,” the proclamation reads. Due to this transport providers are expected to readjust their prices, when the demurrage proclamation becomes applicable, as it is expected to minimize delays at various points during their trip.
The proclamation, which has three parts, indicate that a truck with a loading capacity of 20 or more tons of cargo should load cargo within eight hours and unload it within six hours. Trucks that have a loading capacity of less than 20 tons should load and unload within five hours. According to the proclamation, the time limit referred to the above conditions begins from the time the truck arrives at the place of loading/unloading.
The Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) also has a responsibility to check the loaded trucks within one hour at the port of entry or exit or transit route, or in less than four hours at the destination customs checkpoint. Currently, trucks that transport goods, especially from the port, need to wait a week on average at the checkpoint or customs station.
Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is also responsible for concluding quarantine tests (trucks’ sanitation and stability) within 30 minutes at quarantine station.  According to the proclamation, MoA is also responsible for conducting animal health tests and issuing a certificate within three hours and giving the animal feed pass certificate within 30 minutes.
The law also stated that the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) has to conclude a truck’s weight inspection within 20 minutes, while other relevant government authorities that are responsible for controlling cargo transportation need to conclude their inspections within three hours.
Based on the law, all bodies that have a responsibility to control the transportation and warehouses that are considered as loading/unloading areas have to work 24 hours everyday.
Senders, cargo consignees or warehouse operators who fail to meet the obligations stated above shall pay a demurrage of 100 birr for the first two hours delay, 150 birr for a two to four hour delay and 200 birr for a delay of over four hours for trucks that have a capacity to carry 20 tons or more, while trucks that have a capacity to carry less than 20 tons will get a demurrage of 75 birr for the first two hours, 100 birr for two to four hours and 150 birr for a delay of over four hours.
Government bodies that are responsible for conducting inspections are also included in the demurrage fee if they are responsible for the delay over the stated time frame.
According to the new law, responsible government offices shall pay a demurrage fee of 100 birr for trucks with a capacity to carry 20 or more tons of cargo and 75 birr for trucks that carry less than 20 tons.
According to the law, the demurrage fee is payable for 10 hours per day. The carrier who has sustained more damages than the demurrage shall have the right to claim the excess on the basis of the contract of carriage and the appropriate law.
Any employee or officer of a state warehouse or a regulatory organ that has intentionally or by negligence detained a truck beyond the time limit specified for loading/unloading or for inspection shall be liable to reimburse the demurrage paid by his employer

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