Asian liner giants Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Wan Hai Lines have been fined a total of $2.65m by the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).
The carriers have settled to resolve allegations of misconduct brought by the regulator’s Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations & Compliance relating to demurrage and empty container charges.
ONE entered into a compromise agreement with the commission in April.
The Japanese carrier is alleged to have violated detention charges when appointments were unavailable during allocated free time to return equipment.
Under the terms of the agreement, ONE agreed to pay a $1.7m civil penalty and make restitution to affected shippers in the form of refunds and waivers.
Wan Hai will pay $950,000 in civil penalties.
The Taiwanese carrier is alleged to have failed to observe and enforce just and reasonable practices regarding its charges related to empty container returns.
It has also refunded shippers all detention charges.
ONE and Wan Hai did not admit to any violation of the law.
FMC chairman Daniel Maffei hailed the “meaningful civil penalties and relief for impacted shippers”.
“The agreements … send a clear message to the international shipping community that ocean carriers must fully comply with the US legal obligations,” he said.
In June last year, German liner operator Hapag-Lloyd was fined $2m for alleged violation of demurrage and detention charges.