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Detention fees are when you have to pay a fee because you didn’t return your shipping container back to the port in time. Usually, after you have delivered products to their final destination, you’re responsible for delivering a container back to the port so it can be used for future orders.


Historically, this has been a straightforward process. However, historic port congestion makes this a far more complicated issue. Port congestion means that both incoming and outgoing traffic is stalled, so you may be in line to deliver your container back on time, but so is everyone else. It may be days before you finally have a chance to check in your container and formally return it.


Even though it’s not your fault that you can’t check in your container for return, it won’t matter. If your container isn’t checked in by the given deadline (regardless of congestion), the port will charge you a detention. Using techniques (like the ones we discussed above) is a great way to avoid port congestion and unexpected, unavoidable fees.