What is Per Diem Charge?


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Per Diem Charge

What is Per Diem Charge?

Also known as ‘detention,’ a per diem charge is the fee that an ocean carrier charges for each day past the number of “free” days a container spends away from the port. 

How and why is Per Diem Charge implemented?

Per Diem Charges are implemented because ocean carriers are often diligent to get their containers back on time which allows them to stay in circulation and on schedule. In a way, the Per Diem Charge discourages importers from storing containers for an extended period of time. 

What happens if you need to keep storing cargo?

If one needs to store cargo for an extended period of time but wants to avoid Per Diem Charges, it is suggested that they unload the container at a warehouse, as storage charges at warehouses are much cheaper than Per Diem. This way, the goods will be stored and the trucker will be able to return the container to the carrier on time. 

How much does Per Diem cost?

Per Diem Charges vary by carrier and port, but they normally range between $50 and $100 per day for each container. 

Why is Per Diem charged?

Per Diem charges exist as a way to regulate the circulation of containers and to offset monetary losses from return delays. These charges prompt the quick return of the containers or other equipment back to where their owner or the carrier. 

How can I avoid Per Diem charges?

  • You can avoid Per Diem Charges by: 
  • Keeping track of the containers or other ‘borrowed’ equipment once you’ve pulled them from the yard. 
  • Making sure you are clear on when they need to be returned to the yard.
  • Handling the containers at hand in a “first in first out” technique - meaning the oldest inventory items (containers/equipment) are handled first so once they’re emptied, they can be returned without delays. 



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