Understanding the Law: Are LCL Shipments Subject to Demurrage and Detention?

Understanding the Law: Are LCL Shipments Subject to Demurrage and Detention?

Making sense of the law is never easy. As a business owner, it pays to know what’s required by law and what isn’t. That way you can avoid costly fines and penalties that come with them. One area where this can be confusing is in regard to LCL shipments (less than container load). LCL shipments are usually only one or two boxes rather than an entire container. They are also typically less expensive, which makes them popular for small businesses who need to ship delicate items. The question remains whether these shipments are subject to demurrage and detention (when your shipment sits on the dock because you didn’t pay for it in time). To help make sense of the law, here’s some information about LCL shipments and their treatment by customs agents.

What’s the Difference Between LCL and Full Container Load Shipping?

The difference between LCL and full container load shipping is the number of boxes. A full container is typically 20 or 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high. LCL shipments are only one or two boxes that are usually less than 4 ft in length.

Is Your Shipment Subject to Demurrage and Detention?

LCL shipments can be a great option for shipping items because they are less expensive, and they allow you to send only one or two boxes. The question is whether these shipments are subject to demurrage and detention when not paid in time. Let’s take a look at the law.

In the U.S., LCL shipments are not necessarily subject to demurrage and detention fees when there is no clear violation of the law. In other words, if your shipment doesn’t violate

any customs requirements, then it shouldn’t be subject to fees like this (although there may still be other penalties incurred). However, if you’re shipping internationally, you may need to pay these fees even if your shipment isn’t technically violating customs laws–though this will vary by country.

Demurrage and detention fees typically occur when a shipment has been delayed for more than 48 hours (or 24 hours in some countries), but this varies depending on where you’re shipping from and the specific terms of the contract with the carrier service provider. For example, if you’re using DHL, their standard demurrage rate is $3 per box per day while UPS charges $10 per day. You can find out what your particular carrier’s rates are by calling them before you ship your shipment so that you know what to expect.

How Can You Avoid Demurrage and Detention for LCL Shipments?

The short answer is that if you’re shipping a one or two boxes of LCL, then you should have no problem at customs. The customs agents will just come and pick up your shipment without any additional fees or charges. However, if you’re shipping more than two boxes, there’s a chance for them to be detained. In this case, the box won’t get to its destination until you pay for it in advance. You can avoid demurrage by paying an advance deposit on your LCL shipment with your freight forwarder. This way, they will know what to expect and can handle the customs process for you.


When shipping your goods internationally, you want to be sure that they arrive at their destination on time and in good condition. The challenge is that international shipping has many rules and regulations that you need to be aware of. Learn how your LCL shipment is subject to demurrage and detention, and how you can avoid this for your shipments.

Know more about shipping/ logistics industry by checking out our previous article on What is the Difference Between Transhipment and Cargo In Transit?

ProConnect Integrated Logistics – A Freight Forwarding & 3PL company offering end-to-end Supply Chain & Logistics services.

There are many 3PL & freight brokers in the industry, it is important for you to choose the right partner for your shipment. Your shipment is valuable, and we ensure we treat it like ours. ProConnect Integrated Logistics gets its expertise, experience and value of working from its group company – Redington. Over the years, ProConnect has established itself as the most reliable freight forwarder and logistics partner for many companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, catering to a variety of industries.

If you are looking for a partner to take care of all your logistics hassles, Get A Free Quote Today!

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