Storage, Demurrage, Detention charges: how are they different?


Whether you are a beginner or an expert importer, you may already be aware of the different charges that go in the process. Every business importer is familiar with terms like demurrage, detention and storage charges. Initially, they may sound the same and create confusion, but they aren’t the same. 

If you have had the confusion of differentiating between these terms, we are here to help you and guide you through the process. 

What are the differences? 

  • Storage Charge

The storage charges refer to the fees that are charged by the storage facilities for storing your merchandise in the particular location. The terminal gives you a deadline for the storage of your products, and if the timeline exceeds, the terminal will charge you for the extra days. 

Initially, the terminal may set a particular number of days allowing the pickup of items for free of cost. However, once the term ends, the terminal will bill you for storage charge. Usually, a freight forwarder or customs broker can eventually contribute to pay the charges for you. However, the charges will further be added in your bill later on by the importers and exporters. 

ClearitUSA customs consulting can provide you with storage charges. They will help you with the payment of your bill. 

  • Detention Charges

These are the charges that you will need to pay to the terminal if you don’t return the empty container to the specified time period. The terminal usually sets a time period for the return of the empty container but if the number of days increases, you will need to pay for extra. The customs broker or freight forwarder can however help you with the payment of these thereby helping you avoid the late charges. It is always suggested to return the empty container within the mentioned time frame to avoid these unnecessary charges. 

  • Demurrage charges

The detention charges refer to the fees charged by the shipping line if you do not pick up the packed container within the mentioned deadline. As always, the terminal sets a particular timeframe within which you will need to pick up the belongings from the warehouse. 

Can I avoid these charges? 

Yes. These are unnecessary charges that will eventually increase the cost of importing. It is better to stay prepared from the beginning. Some of the tips that can help you avoid these charges include the following

  • Provide all information about your merchandise to the importer. 
  • Return the empty container as soon as possible. 
  • Inform your carrier about the arrival of the merchandise container.