A Guide on How to Avoid Demurrage and Detention Extra Charges

May 08,2024
Industry News
What are the main differences between demurrage and demurrage? How to avoid the extra costs of Demurrage and Detention when it comes to international logistics and container shipping

Detention fees and demurrage fees are two concepts that often confuse people when it comes to international logistics and container shipping. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two so that you can have a clearer grasp of what they mean in real-life communications.

Demurrage and Detention

Definition of Demurrage and Demurrage

What is a demurrage fee?

Demurrage fees apply to containers whose cargo is not picked up from the terminal or port within the scheduled time. Many importers offer a certain number of free storage days for containers and cargo. After this period, demurrage charges will begin.

Ports and terminals handle large amounts of cargo coming in and out every day. When cargo sits immobile, it takes up space and affects operational capabilities. The purpose of demurrage is to encourage shippers to avoid delivering cargo to the port prematurely and to remove it from the port as quickly as possible.

What is a Detention Fee?

Detention fees apply from the time your goods leave the port until the empty container is returned. When the container is picked up, no matter whether it is empty or not using the carrier's equipment, you will be charged a demurrage fee as long as the specified "free time" is exceeded.

Key Differences between Demurrage and Demurrage

The demurrage fee applies to containers in the port and is calculated from the time the ship arrives at the port or the container is unloaded until the container is picked up.

The Detention Fee applies to containers outside ports and facilities, starting when the consignee picks up a fully loaded container and ending when an empty container is returned to the container yard.

How demurrage and demurrage affect international logistics prices

Increased operating costs

When containers are not returned from the port or cleared within the stipulated free time, shipping lines charge port authorities and terminals demurrage and demurrage charges. These additional costs are factored into the total shipping charges charged to shippers and importers/exporters.

risk mitigation

To offset the potential financial risks associated with demurrage and demurrage, shipping lines incorporate these costs into their freight calculations as a risk mitigation strategy.

The higher the perceived risk, the higher the shipping cost.

Operational inefficiency

Delays caused by containers sitting idle in ports or not being returned in a timely manner can undermine shipping lines’ operational efficiency. To compensate for these inefficiencies and maintain service levels, they may increase shipping costs.

Supply and demand dynamics

Overdue container demurrage increases port congestion and may affect the overall supply of containers.

Shipping lines may increase shipping rates to balance supply and demand, especially during peak seasons.

transparency and communication

Effective communication between supply chain parties is crucial to avoid demurrage and demurrage charges.

Shipping lines may consider the potential costs incurred due to poor communication or lack of transparency in shipping rates.

Demurrage and container demurrage are fees established to maintain the flow of goods within and outside the port. But it means additional costs and risks for shipping companies, which they often pass on to customers through higher international logistics prices or freight rates to maintain profitability and operational efficiency.

Common Strategies to Reduce Demurrage and Demurrage Fees

Optimize supply chain management

Ensure timely arrival and transportation of goods through accurate supply chain planning and forecasting. This includes close collaboration with suppliers, freight forwarders and shipping lines to optimize the loading, transport and unloading of goods.

Optimize container utilization

Adopt modes such as cargo owners’ own containers to improve container utilization, return empty containers in a timely manner, and avoid demurrage fees.

Reasonable reservations and arrangements

Make an appointment with a freight forwarder, shipping company or port operator in advance to ensure cargo can be loaded and unloaded within the scheduled time. This helps avoid additional costs incurred by waiting for loading and unloading.

Use efficient packaging and loading techniques

By using appropriate packaging materials and loading techniques, container loading can be maximized and the number of containers required can be reduced, thereby reducing demurrage and detention charges.

Choose the right shipping method

Choose the appropriate transportation method, such as sea, air or land transportation, based on factors such as the nature of the goods, destination and delivery time. This helps ensure your shipment reaches its destination on time and avoids additional costs due to shipping delays.

Logistics partner

Establishing long-term relationships with reputable and highly professional logistics companies, such as stone3pl, can ensure better service and support and reduce additional costs due to transportation issues.

Develop emergency plans

Develop contingency plans for possible delays and losses so that measures can be taken quickly to reduce additional costs when problems occur.

Through the comprehensive application of these strategies, Demurrage fee completes customs clearance procedures in advance and picks up the goods as soon as possible. The Detention Fee ensures that empty boxes are returned on time, avoiding additional costs due to delays. International logistics companies can minimize detention and demurrage fees and improve operational efficiency and profitability. Take a series of strategies to optimize the logistics process.