Dong Fang International Containers
Dong Fang International Containers

Discussion on the Causes and Countermeasures of Demurrage Charges for Imported Freight Containers

In the business operation of import by sea, due to trade disputes, document delays, inland transportation delays, and errors in customs declaration and inspection, etc., there will be demurrage charges for sea containers, which will increase the cost of material import procurement for enterprises. This article analyzes and discusses the causes and countermeasures of demurrage fees for shipping containers, in order to provide some references for relevant enterprises to reduce transportation costs and control risks.

1. Overview of demurrage fees for imported shipping containers

The demurrage fee for imported sea containers refers to the liquidated damages paid by the cargo owner for failing to return the container to the shipping company within the specified time limit as agreed by both parties during the container transportation process. In import shipping, the container is generally owned by the shipping company, and the supplier can use it free of charge within a certain time limit. In order to urge shippers to speed up cargo transshipment, improve container circulation efficiency, and reduce costs, shipping companies charge certain fees for shipping containers that exceed the free usage period, that is, demurrage fees. The demurrage fee is a conventional concept. Each shipping company sets its own rate according to its own operating conditions, and there is no mandatory legal regulation or industry standard.

2. Analysis of the causes of demurrage charges for shipping containers

(1) Demurrage fees arising from trade disputes

In international trade, once a trade dispute arises, it often takes time and effort to resolve it. If a trade dispute occurs before the customs declaration of the goods, the seller usually seizes the relevant customs declaration documents. Without the documents, the buyer cannot complete the customs declaration smoothly, and the goods cannot be taken out of the container, and the shipping container cannot be returned to the shipping company in time. , which will generate a large amount of container demurrage fees.

(2) Demurrage fees arising from delays in the circulation of customs declaration documents

Customs declaration documents are all kinds of documents used by the buyer to go through customs declaration procedures after the imported goods arrive at the port, including: ocean bill of lading, packing list, invoice, import license, etc. No matter what kind of documents it is, it will take a certain amount of time for the cargo owner to get it for customs declaration. If the ship has arrived at the port to unload the cargo, but the documents are still on the way, it will cause the goods to be stranded in the port, which will lead to delays. The generation of container fees, especially for short-sea container transportation with short voyages, often occurs that the goods are waiting for documents at the port.

(3) Demurrage fees caused by errors in inland transportation route planning

After the cargo is picked up at the port, the container needs to be transferred to the location of the cargo party through inland transportation. Due to the limited period of free use of containers agreed with the shipping company, many cargo owners have incurred demurrage fees due to mistakes in inland transportation route planning and long transshipment time. If the number of containers is large, the resulting dry container demurrage fee will be a large expense.

3. Countermeasures and suggestions related to demurrage fees for sea containers

(1) Dealing with trade disputes cautiously

The occurrence of trade disputes is often difficult to predict and prevent accurately, but the occurrence of trade disputes is not a single trouble for both buyers and sellers. Usually, both parties are unwilling to have disputes. Based on this, once a trade dispute occurs, it should be dealt with cautiously and try to take appropriate measures to resolve it in the shortest possible time. If it is confirmed that the dispute is caused by the seller, it should be timely claimed that the dry container demurrage fee should be borne by the seller; if the dispute is complicated and cannot be properly resolved in a short period of time, the seller should be notified of the costs and risks that have occurred or will occur in the country in a timely manner. Prompt the seller to make concessions to speed up the dispute resolution process.

(2) Strengthen document control

Strengthening the control of documents is mainly carried out through two aspects. One is to timely and proactively grasp the shipping information related to the contracted cargo transportation. Once the goods leave the port, you should contact the foreign seller in time to urge them to provide a copy of the documents as soon as possible and submit them to the bank. The second is to strictly stipulate the relevant terms in the trade contract. The seller can be required to submit the documents to the bank within a fixed period of time after sailing. The customs declaration documents are delivered to the buyer by express.

(3) Strengthen customs declaration and inspection control

To strengthen the control of customs declaration and inspection, on the one hand, it is necessary to control and solve the problem of packaging, and on the other hand, it is to control and solve the problem of customs declaration information. For packaging issues, relevant clauses should be strictly stipulated in the trade contract, requiring the seller to issue a statement on packaging according to the actual situation, and bear the responsibilities and expenses arising therefrom. Regarding the issue of customs declaration information, the buyer should establish a document verification system, carefully review the documents, and strive to ensure that the documents are consistent and the goods are consistent, so as to prevent the occurrence of customs risks.

There are many links in the logistics business of imported shipping containers and strong practicality. Any problem in any link may lead to demurrage charges and increase the logistics cost of the enterprise. Only by comprehensively analyzing the causes of demurrage charges, identifying various risk factors and formulating targeted management and control measures can enterprises effectively avoid demurrage charges.