What are Shipping Detention Charges?

warehouseSo you are going over your freight bill and you notice a line item that is listed as detention. Extra charges for freight never make shippers happy, but mysterious ones are even worse. Let’s discuss what detention is, why it is charged and ways that you can avoid having shipping detention charged when you ship.

What are Detention Charges?

Freight liners make money by moving cargo and freight from one site to another. When a truck is not on the road moving things, then money is being lost. This is the origination of the detention charge. Detention is a charge that a carrier will assess if the time that was allotted to pick up a freight load or to drop it off is exceeded. This means that the carrier is not actually moving like they should be and may be made late for other pickups or drop-offs along the route.

Generally this charge is only assessed in full truck load shipments. However, there are times that a LTL carrier would also charge this fee. Shipping lines are attempting to compensate drivers for extra time spent doing something other than driving the truck.

How Long Do I Have?

While the detention charges might not be explicitly spelled out in the contract, there are some general guidelines you can go by. A driver is typically allotted one or two hours to load or unload at a site. If that time is exceeded by some portion of an hour (fifteen minute increments are common), that is when the detention charges start racking up. This can vary greatly from carrier to carrier, so it is best to ask about detention before hiring a carrier to transport your freight.

How Much Do Detention Charges Cost?

This does vary from carrier to carrier. Many shipping lines will negotiate these charges with you and are willing to work with you up front if you know that you are going to have loading times that exceed their typical allotted time. In US dollars, detention charges are usually between $50 to $100 per hour, and can go up from there depending on the shipping liner and schedules they are held to.

How To Avoid Detention Charges

Don’t worry; you can avoid these charges easily. Here are some tips on the best ways to avoid detention charges:

  • Have a good solid shipping plan. Make sure that your shipment is properly packed, loaded on pallets and at the dock ready to be picked up. Industrial packing experts like Cratex Group can help you to ensure that your shipment is ready when your carrier arrives.
  • Have completed paperwork ready for the driver. Taking time to fill out long and complicated packing lists can waste a lot of time.
  • Have an open dialogue with the carrier. Make sure they know what to expect when they arrive and can prepare their driver accordingly.

Contact Cratex Group today for all of your industrial packing needs!