CTAA - Container Detention Fees an Insidious By-Product of Current Port Congestion & Delays

Thursday, November 25, 2021




Continuing congestion and delays at Australia's container ports is again leading to an insidious consequence at the end of the import container logistics chain – a rise in container detention fees levied by shipping lines for the late return of empty containers.

Shipping lines have the contractual right to penalise importers for not returning empty containers in a timely fashion in accordance with their international shipping terms & conditions.

However, the reasonableness of the shipping lines' container detention policies is questionable when delays are outside of the control of forwarders, importers and transport companies.

A major reason for current delays is the congestion at container terminals caused by high peak volumes, COVID related labour shortages, terminal equipment malfunctions and the lingering effect of industrial relations disruptions.

To their credit, some shipping lines have recognised that their contracted stevedores have contributed to the landside logistics delays, and have waived or extended container detention free time.  Alas, not all shipping lines have recognised this concern and disputed container detention fee bills are on the rise.




Neil Chambers, Director
Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA)



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