One of the main concerns for those who rely on freight shipping is container shipping charges.

These expenses can vary depending on the circumstances, requiring shippers to plan for different scenarios.

Given the significance of this matter for all those involved in shipping goods by sea, we have decided to create this small guide on container costs for maritime freight transport.

What are container charges?

Container charges refer to all costs associated with transporting goods in containers.

These charges apply to the use of the container and the transportation of the cargo from the point of origin to the final destination. They vary based on the type of container used, the size and weight of the cargo, the transport route, and other additional factors.

One crucial aspect to note about shipping container charges is that they are applicable at both the origin and destination ports.

How are container charges calculated?

Container charges are calculated taking into account factors such as the size and type of container used, cargo weight, transport distance, and the rates set by shipping companies and ports.

To calculate shipping container charges, it is important to be familiar with the terms and conditions of transportation service providers, as they can significantly vary depending on the country and region.

In addition to charges that may apply at ports and cargo terminals, additional charges for delays or detention during the transportation process should also be considered.

In some cases, transportation service providers offer online container shipping charges calculator that allow customers to make fairly accurate estimates.

Types of container charges at ports and terminals

Several types of container charges are applied at ports and terminals. Some of the most common ones include:

Terminal handling charges

These charges apply when cargo is loaded or unloaded from the container at the terminal. They can vary depending on the type of goods, container size, and terminal location.

Good dues

Good dues are applied to cover the costs associated with processing and handling goods at the port or terminal. These fees can vary based on the type of goods and container size.

Container storage fees

When containers are not picked up from the terminal on time, container storage fees may apply. These fees increase the longer the container remains stored at the terminal.

Types of charges to the shipping line

In addition to charges at ports and terminals, charges are also applied to the shipping line. Let’s explore the most common ones

Emergency bunker surcharge

An emergency bunker surcharge is applied when fuel prices exceed a certain level. The surcharge varies depending on the route and container size.

Low-sulfur fuel surcharge

It is applied when low sulfur fuel is used to comply with environmental regulations. Similar to the emergency fuel surcharge, this fee varies based on the route and container dimensions.

Peak season surcharge

During periods of high demand, such as summer holidays or holiday seasons, peak season surcharges may apply. These often significantly increase shipping costs.

Demurrage and detention charges

Apart from container station charges, there are additional container demurrage charges

and container detention.

What are container detention charges?

Container demurrage and detention charges are additional fees that may apply if the container is retained for a longer period at the port or cargo terminal than originally planned.

These charges are typically imposed as a daily rate after the agreed time limit for container delivery has been exceeded.

As is customary with container charges, these fees vary depending on the container size and the port or terminal where it is located.

It is important to note that demurrage and detention charges can generate significant additional costs for customers.

Additionally, careful review of all required documentation and permits for cargo transportation helps prevent delays that could result in extra charges.

Tips to save on shipping container charges

When it comes to transporting goods in containers, every little detail counts, from the types of charges to the shipping lines to the terminal handling costs.

Here are some tips that can help you save on shipping container charges:

How to avoid storage charges in containers

Storage fees often account for a significant portion of the total costs associated with container shipping. 

To avoid these charges, it is essential to plan the arrival of containers accurately and coordinate with the transportation company to schedule the delivery of the container to the warehouse or final destination as soon as possible.

Saving on container shipping charges in peak season

During the peak season, shipping container rates tend to be higher due to increased demand. 

A good way to save on these additional costs is to book in advance. Often, a well-planned schedule can help you save a significant portion of these price surges. If possible, it is advisable to avoid periods of high commercial activity.

Remember, careful planning and proactive communication with the relevant stakeholders can result in substantial savings on container expenses.

👉Find out more atHow can you save extra on shipping charges during the peak season?

Uses of SOC Containers

Another way to save on container charges is to purchase SOC containers. These are a type of containers that can be loaded and unloaded by the shipper and consignee without the need for a third-party logistics provider.

SOC containers also help save money on demurrage and detention charges, as there is no need to wait for a third-party logistics provider to pick up or deliver the container.

At BOXXPORT, we offer a global platform that enables efficient and speedy buying and selling of shipping containers internationally. 

This means you can purchase SOC containers from BOXXPORT at one location, use the container to transport goods to another location, and then sell the container upon arrival at the new location to someone else who requires it.

Plan your freight and containers ahead of time

If there’s one thing that has become clear throughout this guide, it’s that planning in advance can lead to significant savings on container charges.

Determining the amount of cargo and the type of container required for shipment before making a reservation, as well as coordinating with the transportation company to schedule the pickup and delivery of the container, can result in substantial savings on overall shipping costs.