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Combined demurrage and detention

Combined demurrage and detention

Further to my previous post discussing the difference between demurrage and detention, above question has been raised by one of the readers..

“What is the meaning of combined demurrage/detention charge? How is that being calculated? This again confuses the customer – if you have a combined detention/demurrage – it means that you either get 5 demurrage days and 9 detention free days (or) you can use it as per your convenience – 7 dem/7 det free days with prior agreement.”

The NORM is a combined demurrage/detention scenario.. In this case, there is no difference between demurrage and detention charge and the end result will be that if the client is offered 10 dem/det free days, then from the time of the container reaching its final destination (as per bill of lading) the client will have 10 days to pick up the full and return the empty.. In MOST cases, the dem/det period is combined.. Very rarely the lines offer free days for either demurrage only or detention only..

If “x” free days offered for demurrage only, then that means that the client has “x” free days to pick up the full container after which the empty has to be returned the same day to avoid costs..

If “x” free days offered for detention only, then that means that the client can use the “x” free days to unpack the container and take it back to the depot.. They might have some unpacking problems at their warehouse which necessitates such requests..

Trust this helps..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Thanks Dear nice article I am very interested to see it and get some work for another month.
    Can Shipping lineS discount in DEMMERAGE/DETENTION if Shipping line charge X days.?

  2. Dear Mr Hariesh

    the Combined demurrage and detention that mean if the cnrt pass the free time the client will pay demurrage & detention together as fees
    whatever the cntr in port or under consignee premises , or pay demurrage only if the cnrt was not pick up , if the the cntr was picked up , the consignee will pay the detention only


    Hassan Elzend

  3. in some countries especially in Middle East, demurrage is port storage charges which client can enjoy a free time x days for picking their cargo from port. thereafter,charges will be enforced per day per ton.

    detention: charges applied by shipping line to consignees if they fail to return the empty units within the allowed free time of x days. This charges applied per day varies on unit’s size i.e 20′ or 40′

    Shoaib SABU

    • Hi Shoaib, can you give an example of countries where “demurrage is port storage charges”.. Port storage is different from Demurrage as far as I know and have seen.. Would be interesting to see which countries in Middle East demurrage is considered as Port Storage Charge..

    • its in Saudi Arabia – they treat demurrage as port storage. collected Sr.20 per ton per day.
      Detention is the rental fee for unit collected after free time sr.50/20′ and
      sr.100/40′ and for reefers its double.


  4. We include the term liner demurrage/detention free in our sales contract.(1e days free time)
    Understand that the term demurrage is considered when the container is within the port and detention outside the port.
    We have faced issues where the buyer has requested for port demurrage free instead of linre detention because we include the above clause.The argumen is that the term demurrage is indicated along with detention.
    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Saldin, IN PRINCIPLE, there is no real difference between demurrage and detention as the client is liable to bring back the empty container to the nominated depot before the expiry of free days failing which he will be charged as per the lines tariff, irrespective of what term we call it.. But having said this, there are lines that term the free days as either Demurrage Free Days, Detention Free Days or Combined Free Days, so it is really upto the line and customer to ensure that they come to an agreement on what kind of free days they are talking about..

      Trust this makes sense and assists..


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