Storage costs of goods in sea, rail and air transport 

Update date:
07 Dec 2023
Date of publication:
07 Dec 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

Storage costs are an inherent part of transport marine, rail and aviation. They occur after a certain amount of free storage time has been exceeded. In each of the listed transports, the storage free time will vary. In addition, the cost will depend on the country of destination of the goods. 

Storage costs in rail transport

The cost of rail storage can range from a few to several USD per CBM. Most often a few days are free of charge. During this time we should be able to clear the goods and collect them from the warehouse . Sometimes, however, there are situations when customs clearance takes longer or there are problems with organising the return of goods to our warehouse. In such cases, we can expect additional charges after a few days free of charge. 

In LCL loads -> from a few to several USD per 1 CBM / day 

In loads FCL -> in FCL cargo, storage costs increase progressively. For example, from the 5th to the 7th day we may pay 60 USD for each day a container is stored. from the 7th to the 9th it may already be 80 USD, etc. 

It is important to bear in mind that the costs of storage at each forwarding company may vary. The risk of prolonged customs clearance, customs inspections, etc. always exists and can happen for random reasons. For this reason, it is advisable to check with the forwarding company you are working with how much the storage costs are before ordering transport. 

Storage costs in maritime transport 

In maritime transport there are concepts such as demurrage and detention. These are additional costs that are associated with the late collection or return of the container. 

In FCL cargo 

demurrage - After the container arrives in port, we have about 10 days to collect the container. This time depends on the shipowner with whom we are transporting, but should be more or less within these limits. Above this time, the shipowner will begin to charge for each day of such demurrage. More about demurrage here: 

detention - Detention costs relate to situations where a carrier picks up a container from a port to deliver to a customer and the container is not returned on time. We have a period of approximately 30 days to return the container. This is plenty of time, which in most cases is enough to clear the goods, deliver to the customer's warehouse and return the empty container to the shipowner. 

In LCL loads 

In LCL freight, we will encounter standard storage times. The time to pick up the goods and the cost of storage will very much depend on the company with which we carry out the transport. 

Usually we should have a few days to collect the goods and the storage fee should not be more than a few / a dozen USD / CBM. 

Storage costs in air transport

Air freight storage costs can vary widely. It will all depend on the airport of destination of the goods and the country where it is located. If it is an airport in India, we can assume that the costs should not amount to too much. However, in the case of the USA, the storage costs can already be quite expensive. 

Normally, costs will be calculated per kg of weight of the goods. For dangerous goods that need to be stored in special warehouses, storage rates will be more expensive. 

Common reasons for charging storage costs

  • problems with customs clearance 
  • Container/load falling into customs searches
  • problems with goods documentation 
  • no vehicles available to pick up the container 
  • payment problems (goods not paid for, transport not paid for, etc.). 
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