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!

Inspiration for anyone making the move to China from the USA

As the number of people who move to China from the USA increases, so do the fears, questions and uncertainties of these people making such a dramatic move to a foreign country across the world.

Being where we are in society today it is no surprise, then, that many of these people are taking their concerns to the Internet and, happily, there is tons of useful information for this group to allay their fears. I came across just such a piece today entitled An American Girl in Shanghai which is the blog postings of a woman from the USA who moved to China with her husband and wanted to share it with the many who are either making or thinking of making this move in the future as it provides both encouragement and inspiration for anyone else on the cusp of such a change who is feeling that “big step” anxiousness.

The woman takes you through many of the day to day doings in her new surroundings and takes you along for her shopping trips, a visit to the Shanghai Marriage Market, Olympic viewing, challenges receiving her luggage, road trips, her first week of teaching duties, ventures to local events and more.

As someone who himself has made that dramatic move from the USA to a foreign country I can say first hand how valuable such stories are. While movers can read all of the “how to” guides and country brochures that are available (and there are lots) there is nothing that can provide a more calming influence on someone making such a drastic relocation as the real life happenings – and mishaps – that a real life person in a similar situation is undertaking. Stories like these always helped to soothe me and my family when we moved our lives to a different part of the world and I highly recommend the blog posts of Anne Marie and her husband Chris to anyone else who is looking for that extra boost of encouragement.

Rainier Overseas Movers provides free quotes and information to people moving to China from the USA. Contact us any time for more information.