Demurrages and detentions in maritime transport

February 22 2021
Demoras y ocupaciones en el transporte marítimo

The transport companies work daily so that the cargo always arrives in the time and manner established at its destination. However, this task can be complicated when at some point in the operation, maritime transport intervenes. In this sector, we have to take into account the concepts of demurrages and detentions in maritime transport and the problems that these can cause us so that the transport is carried out successfully.

Demurrages and detentions in maritime transport are two terms to take into account, since they imply, among others, variable costs that may not have been contemplated at first.

Keep reading and we will briefly explain what they are and how they can affect the international transport of goods.





When we talk about demurrages, we are referring to the costs that the shipping company applies to the company for using its containers. It is important to know that the collection of the corresponding amount will be made both in the port of origin and in the port of destination.

Although there are no fixed rates, these can be around fifty euros a day. This amount refers to containers of 20 feet in size, and can reach about 70 for those that reach 40 feet.

In any case, precisely because there are no fixed rates in this regard, it can be negotiated. The negotiation of demurrages will depend mainly on the power of each of the parties, the volume of the merchandise, the time it will be in the containers …

Finally, it is important to say that shipping companies usually grant a few days of grace during which no charges are applied for this concept. Usually, there are five to seven days that the delays are free of charge.




In this case, the detentions refer to the cost applied by the terminal based on the space occupied by the containers. Here, however, you cannot enjoy free grace days.

These costs will start to be charged from the moment the container arrives in its entirety at the terminal and until it embarks on the ship. When it comes to an import, it is billed from arrival at the terminal until the container is removed.


How do these concepts affect maritime transport?


Import and export operations always entail a series of costs. The most common are always transport to the port, loading on the ship, freight or customs clearance.

However, demurrages and detentions are concepts to take into account to avoid surprises in final costs. They are considered variable costs, since although the forecast is good, the final amount is not fully known until the transport in question has been carried out.

To avoid that this part of the operation triggers the final price of the same, it is convenient to know in depth all the documentation required to make the shipment; It will depend on the countries involved or the type of merchandise being transported. That is why, transport companies have to carry out planning as exact as possible; know the days off of the shipping companies and ports, as well as other agents involved in the shipment and thus avoid additional costs.


CST Group: Specialists in maritime transport


With 30 years of experience in the sector, we consider ourselves specialists in various fields of transport, including the maritime sector. We thus ensure impeccable service thanks to our team of specialized professionals, who provide extensive knowledge of the sector in various markets.

If you need more information, close new businesses or are interested in a quote, do not hesitate to contact us now.