Whether on purpose or not, very often there are things freight forwarders exclude from their quotes. Shipping rates are very complicated, and change due to market trends, which make it easy for some freight forwarders to leave out not-so-common fees altogether in order to increase a quote’s easiness to read. However, it can greatly help you in the near future to know what kind of fees you might have to pay, which you haven’t yet seen in a rate proposal.
Demurrage charges apply mainly for Full-Container-Load (FCL) shipments, but familiarize yourself with these fees – even if your shipment is usually a Less-Container-Load (LCL). Demurrage charges apply when the customer has exceeded the allotted time to finish the releasing process (customs clearance and others) at a terminal or a freight station. If your cargo is shipping as part of an LCL with the forwarder’s other customers and you cause the entire shipment to be delayed due to late paperwork, the responsibility will be placed on you. The demurrage costs can vary from $100 to $300 per day, depending on the container size and the shipping line.
Demurrage is more of a penalty than a normal charge. However, forwarders usually do not explain how many days you have before the penalty per day begins. Without that knowledge, these charges can surprise you if you are unaware of the shipping processes.
X Rays and Other Shipment Holds
In order to prevent smuggling, misevaluation, and security risks, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pulls shipments for exams. The most common exam is the X Ray, which is just about having a container driven through an X Ray machine for Customs to review the pictures. If all is good, the container is released. If not, the container can proceed to other exams such as the Tail Gate and the Intensive exams, but these are not common. In any case, the cost of the examination will be at the customer’s expense. In the case of an LCL, this means the cost will be shared by all the shipment owners of the products inside the examined container.
Import Duties and Tax Payments
If you expect your forwarder’s customs broker to pay the duties and import taxes for you in order to expedite the customs clearance – in case you can’t deliver immediate payments – you must be aware that what you ask for is some kind of loan. The customs broker lends you money, but never for free. You will have to pay a, most likely small, interest rate over the amount paid. Interests vary from broker to broker.
A Customs Bond is a way to guarantee Customs that you will pay your duties and taxes when your cargo value is above $2500, according to CBP. Although you can choose for a single or continuous bond, the best choice is to go for the latter if you plan to ship several shipments throughout the year. In any case, you have to pay the bond in advance to your forwarder before a shipment arrives.
Lift-gate or residential delivery
Most of the new importers who do not have a fork-lift in their warehouse or storage areas, tend to forget to mention that important fact. Therefore, if the shipment is too heavy to lift without a fork-lift, which means that a person cannot handle the weight, then a lift-gate is needed. Not all trucks have a lift-gate included. Therefore, if you are a new importer and do not have a fork-lift, request assistance in advance from your forwarder.
Above are the five common things freight forwarders exclude from their quotes. If you anticipate your shipment may require one of those charges, discuss with your freight forwarders to make sure that their quotes are all inclusive.