In its continuous endeavours to promote best commercial practices and fair competition in the maritime sector of the Emirate of Dubai and to increase transparency and accountability in relation to the application of Sea Container Charges, the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (‘PCFC’), Government of Dubai, has issued on 01 August 2023 the Administrative Decision No. (2) of 2023 For Transparency of Local Sea Container Charges in Dubai (the ‘Decision’).
The Decision, which comes into effect from 01 August 2023, was issued by PCFC after extensive industry-wide consultation with Beneficial Cargo Owners (‘BCO’) as part of the Dubai Maritime Authority’s (‘DMA’) formal stakeholder partnership programme.
The important changes introduced by the Decision:
- Most notably, the temporary freezing of sea container charges introduced by Directive No. (1) of 2023 On Transparency of Local Sea Container Charges in Dubai on 01 May 2023 (the ‘Directive’) ceases from the date of issuance of the said Decision.
- All Container Service Providers (‘Service Provider’) licensed in the Emirate of Dubai must disclose and file their Sea Container Charges, be they Amended or New charges, with the DMA. This filing must be done electronically via the Dubai Trade Platform in accordance with the procedures prescribed therein. These Sea Container Charges shall be subject to a review period of 30 days from the date they are disclosed and filed by the Service Provider. The Service Provider cannot publish any Amended Sea Container Charges or New Sea Container Charges before the lapse of the review period or if the relevant charges are subject to any objection from the DMA.
- Occasional Discounts can be applied by Service Provider to its Sea Container Charges without prior filing requirement.
- The DMA has the right to raise any objections in respect of any Sea Container Charges filed under the said Decision and the Service Provider must comply promptly with the directions of the DMA issued in respect of such objections, to the satisfaction of the DMA.
- All Service Providers must, within no more than thirty (30) days from the effective date of the said Decision, publish on their website, in a clear and unequivocal manner, any Sea Container Charges that they filed previously with the DMA pursuant to Directive. Such Sea Container Charges shall remain applicable during this thirty (30) day period subject to any Objection by the Authority. They will no longer apply to Users thereafter, if not published as required, until they are so published.
- The Service Providers must publish on their website, in a clear and unequivocal manner, all Amended Sea Container Charges and New Sea Container Charges that have been filed with the DMA in accordance with the said Decision.
- Service Providers are prohibited from charging Users any Sea Container Charge if the same has not been filed with the DMA or disclosed as required under the said Decision.
- Service Providers who do not have a website must communicate and provide their Sea Container Charges to the Users and their customers in writing, in advance, clearly and unequivocally.
- Service Providers must communicate all of their Sea Container Charges to their customers and Users in advance and in a clear and understandable manner. This includes providing a reasonable description and breakdown thereof in the Service Providers’ quotations and invoices, including the breakdown of any third party costs/expenses with supporting documents if requested by Users.
- The Port Operator will invoice its terminal handling charges (THC) and truck loading and unloading charges (TLUC) to the relevant User, and collect payment thereof, directly or via the Dubai Trade Platform. The User will pay these charges directly to the Port Operator.
- All Delivery Orders will be issued digitally through the Dubai Trade Platform to strengthen Dubai’s position as a digital city. Port Operators will not execute sea container delivery receipts except based on Digital Delivery Orders.
The said Decision brings about a transparency for BCOs in doing business in the Emirate of Dubai and also puts an end to the freezing of Sea Container Charges introduced by the said Directive, which has been a point of debate.
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