Demystifying Demurrage: Understanding the Costs and Consequences in Logistics with Wigmore
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Demystifying Demurrage: Understanding the Costs and Consequences in Logistics with Wigmore

Are you tired of grappling with the confusing world of logistics costs? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! In today’s blog post, we’re demystifying one particular headache-inducing aspect: demurrage. Whether you’re a seasoned logistics professional or just dipping your toes into the industry, understanding demurrage and its far-reaching consequences is crucial for keeping your supply chain running smoothly. So sit back, relax, and let Wigmore be your guide as we unravel this complex topic and shed light on how it impacts both your bottom line and overall efficiency. Get ready to unlock the secrets of demurrage – let’s dive in!

What is Demurrage?

Demurrage is a term used in the shipping industry to describe the fees charged by a carrier for the detention of a freight container beyond the allowed free time. These fees are assessed per day and are generally payable to the terminal operator, although in some cases they may be invoiced directly to the shipper.

Demurrage charges can have a significant impact on supply chain costs and must be carefully managed to avoid unexpected expenses. When planning shipments, it is important to consider the potential for demurrage fees and build them into your budget.

Most carriers allow a certain number of days for containers to be loaded and unloaded at no charge. This free time period varies by carrier, but is typically between 3-5 days. Once the free time period has expired, demurrage fees will begin accruing. In many cases, these fees can be quite expensive, so it is important to avoid exceeding the allowed free time if possible.

There are several ways to avoid or minimize demurrage charges:

– Plan shipments in advance and allow enough time for loading and unloading without incurring any fees.
– If you anticipate that you may need more time than what is allowed for free, contact the carrier in advance and request an extension of the free period. In most cases, carriers will grant an extension at no charge if requested in advance.
– Use multiple carriers with different free time periods to minimize exposure to demurrage fees.

Understanding the Costs Associated with Demurrage

Demurrage is a charge assessed by carriers when shippers exceed the time allotted for loading or unloading their cargo. This fee is intended to cover the carrier’s costs associated with delays in loading or unloading, including lost time, storage, and other expenses.

While demurrage charges are often seen as a nuisance by shippers, they are actually a necessary part of doing business in the logistics industry. By understanding the costs associated with demurrage, shippers can avoid paying unnecessary fees and keep their logistics operations running smoothly.

The first step in understanding demurrage charges is to know the allotted time for loading and unloading your cargo. This information can be found in your contract with the carrier. Once you know this information, you can work to ensure that your cargo is loaded and unloaded within the specified timeframe.

If you do find yourself exceeding the allotted time for loading or unloading, it’s important to work with the carrier to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. The longer you take to resolve the issue, the more likely it is that you’ll incur additional charges.

By understanding demurrage charges and how they work, you can avoid paying unnecessary fees and keep your logistics operations running smoothly.

How to Avoid Demurrage Charges

Demurrage is a term often used in the shipping and logistics industry to describe charges incurred when cargo or containers are held beyond the allotted free time at terminals or other locations. In simple terms, demurrage is a penalty fee for late delivery.

While demurrage charges may seem like a minor annoyance, they can quickly add up and become a significant cost for businesses that rely on timely shipping and delivery. In some cases, demurrage fees can even exceed the cost of the goods being shipped!

Fortunately, there are a few steps that businesses can take to avoid incurring demurrage charges:

1. First and foremost, plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your shipments to reach their destination. This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked in the busyness of day-to-day operations.
2. If you’re working with multiple suppliers, try to consolidate your shipments to reduce the number of times you’ll be charged demurrage.
3. Keep track of your shipments using online tools or GPS tracking devices to ensure that they are on schedule and not delayed en route.
4. When possible, use alternative transportation methods such as rail or air freight instead of ocean freight, which is often subject to longer delays due to weather conditions or other factors beyond your control.
5. Work with a reputable logistics partner who has experience managing shipments and minimizing demurrage charges. A good logistics partner will

The Consequences of Not Paying Demurrage Charges

If you fail to pay demurrage charges, the consequences can be significant. First, you may be liable for the full cost of the charges, plus any associated fees and penalties. This can add up quickly, and can even result in legal action being taken against you. Second, your cargo may be detained by the port authorities or shipping company, which could delay your shipment and impact your business operations. Your reputation as a shipper may be damaged if you fail to pay demurrage charges, making it more difficult to find willing carriers in the future.

Benefits of Using Wigmore Logistics for Your Logistics Needs

If you’re looking for a logistics provider that can help you avoid demurrage fees, Wigmore Logistics is the perfect choice. We offer a wide range of services that can help you streamline your logistics operations and avoid costly delays.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using Wigmore Logistics for your logistics needs:

1. We have a team of experienced professionals who are experts in demurrage management.

2. We offer a free consultation to assess your specific needs and develop a customized solution for you.

3. We have a proven track record of helping our clients avoid costly demurrage fees.

4. We offer competitive rates and flexible payment options.

5. We’re always available to answer any questions you may have about our services.

Alternatives to Demurrage

There are a number of ways to avoid or mitigate the costs of demurrage. One is to use larger, more efficient ships that can unload faster and turn around more quickly. Another is to ship less cargo per vessel, which reduces the amount of time each ship spends in port. Shippers can work with their logistics providers to develop better schedules and operations plans that account for the risk of delays.


We hope this article has demystified the concept of demurrage and its associated costs and consequences in logistics for you. Wigmore can provide custom solutions tailored to meet your specific needs, helping you manage your freight operations efficiently and cost-effectively. With an experienced team on board, we are confident that our services will ensure a smooth shipping experience for everyone involved. Contact us today if you would like more information or assistance with managing your freight operations!

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