Getting To Know Important Terms About Overseas Container Shipping

It’s no secret that the moving industry has their own common terms to describe overseas container shipping. But if you know what those terms are and learn about the differences of each one, it will provide you with important knowledge when you decide to move overseas, so you are aware of any potential additional charges when moving.  Some of the terminology can get quite confusing at times if you don’t know the meanings of container shipping and charges that come with it.

I’ll provide you with important key terms and to clarify each of them so that you will be better suited to know about container shipping and especially when you are talking to your moving representative or agent about your personal belongings or other shipping items headed out of the country.

Let’s begin with container demurrage and container detention. Both are uniquely different but can be confusing at times. The term demurrage relates to cargo while the cargo is in the container. Detention is when your possessions or general equipment (cargo) is empty and out of the container after unpacking or before packing.

Container demurrage is referred to when the container with a payload has either been offloaded from a vessel, also known as import or waiting to be loaded onto a vessel, known as an export. An import container can’t be shipped out until U.S. Customs officially releases it or decides to exam the container or schedules it for an inspection. If Customs decides to do this, it can impact the delay of the shipment and accrue demurrage charges if it’s not picked up in time. An export container doesn’t usually incur demurrage charges due to the return date and port dates are for the most part, extremely narrow. But if an export container does sustain demurrage fees, it’s due to a shipper or exporter deciding to delay a container or U.S. Customs chooses to exam or inspect the shipment.

Container detention is when the container is offloaded or discharged from the port with or without a payload, and is in possession of a drayage company that will then ship your possessions to an importer’s or exporter’s facilities before it is shipped to you. Detention just means that it’s in a facility being prepared to get the shipment out to you from when it was in the port or other locations.

Other terms include demurrage charges which varies from port-to-port and increases over time depending upon the length of time the container is at the port. Please know that demurrage charges must be paid to the ocean carrier before the container can be released. Keep in mind that ports set their own port free time which means no charges will be applied while the container is at their port (ports free time days vary). If free time days are exceeded, demurrage charges will apply. In addition, ocean carriers allow drayage companies to have containers in a facility for a set number of days at no charge which is referred to as container free time.

When moving a container on the road, you need a chassis rental for a truck to move the container. When a chassis has been provided, the owner of the chassis, whether an ocean liner or port operator, will charge a daily chassis rental charge which varies depending upon the location.

These are just some of the terms used in overseas container shipping. By getting to know these terms and shipping overall (please visit to learn more), it will prevent very little surprises if some fees are charged due to delays out of the control of your shipping representative or agent who are trying to manage and limit your fees as much as possible!

Safe moving!

What Items Your Mover Won’t Move

You are relocating to another city, state or country and you have a long list of “to do’s” and may be wondering what your scheduled mover won’t or can’t move for you among some of your belongings. You don’t want to find out what your mover can’t take on the day of your move. It’s stressful enough to move and you don’t want a surprise when scheduled to be on the road.

Combustible chemicals
What personal items movers won’t move for you? Potentially dangerous chemicals include some of the following:
• Bleach
• Ammonia
• Corrosives
• Nail polish remover
• Propane tanks
• Aerosols
• Paint
• Gasoline
• Lighter fluid, kerosene
• Charcoal
• Other chemicals

Hazardous materials create too many variables in the moving process. Combustible items are simply too dangerous to transport in a moving van or truck. Luckily, most of these are household items that can be easily replaced when you arrive at your new home.

• Pets – Movers simply will not move pets no matter how well-behaved they are or the type of pet carrier as well. Moving vans can get extremely hot or cold depending upon the weather. Too many variables that could go wrong, plus, it’s better to have your furry friend with you anyway.
• Plants – Did you know there are laws against moving certain plants to specific distances? Transporting plants may mean introducing such invaders to your new state. Because of laws like these, moving companies generally won’t move your plants across state lines especially to different countries. Even if they were allowed to move them, plants could soil or die in transit, potentially damaging your other personal belongings.

• Perishable foods
• fireworks
• Explosives
• Ammunition

This might seem pretty obvious, but you would be surprised at what some people try to move including fireworks and other explosive items. Anything that puts your movers or your other belongings in danger definitely cannot be shipped.
It’s important to check your movers’ policy on food. Some moving companies will not ship any kind of food, while others just won’t ship the perishable items. Anything that can soil in transit should definitely not be shipped. In addition to potentially damaging the other belongings that you shipped, food like this can attract insects, which both you and your movers definitely want to avoid.

• Cash
• Financial and personal documents
• Jewelry
• Checkbooks, credit cards
• Prescriptions, medicine

Even if your mover doesn’t have a policy against moving personal items, I would highly recommend keeping these items with you as you move especially family pictures and other belongings with high sentimental value. Keep in mind as a general rule, if any of your belongings are irreplaceable, keep them with you during your move don’t ship it.

If you are ever unsure on what can and cannot be moved, don’t hesitate to ask your mover. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more information about what items you can’t ship and items we recommend not to move.
Safe moving!
Cesar Castro is one of the owners at Rainier Overseas Movers Inc. He can be reached at mailto:cesar@rainieros.comcom or you can call him 800-426-9928. Please visit their website at