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Explaining All The Fees And Surcharges In Sea Freight

Explaining All The Fees And Surcharges In Sea Freight


Fee Term



Ocean Freight

This term refers to any goods or shipments that are transported via boat across body of water. Many carriers and freight forwarders provide a number of services specific to ocean freight.


Documentation fee

One of the fees that a shipper must pay to have goods transported either domestically or internationally.


Terminal Handling Charge

This term refers to the charges collected by authorities at the ports to cover the costs of handling equipment and performing maintenance. The exact costs vary from port to port based on the amount of handling and maintenance done at each one.


Container Freight Station Fee

A Container Freight Station is a location where freight shipments can be consolidated, de-consolidated, or repackaged at various points along the path of transport. Typically, these locations are proximal to seaports or airports. Therefore, the CFS fee is arose as a result.


Container Imbalance Charge

It is a cost charged by shipping lines to compensate the cost of relocating large quantities of empty containers between countries where there is an imbalance of trade (there is no export use for those containers that had been previously imported into those countries).


Emergency Bunker Surcharge

An Emergency Bunker Surcharge is similar to a BAF and is a charge added to shipping costs in order to cover the price of fuel.


Handling fee

A handling fee is an amount charged to a customer on top of the order subtotal and shipping fees. It covers the cost of expenses related to fulfillment, such as warehouse storage cost, shipment cost, and packing cost. Handling fees are charged once per order but not to each individual product in an order.


Bunker Adjustment Factor

This term refers to the portion of sea freight charges that are adjustable based on the fluctuating cost of oil. Previously, Carrier Conferences determined BAF charges for certain periods of time and on certain trade routes, but individual shipping lines now set their own rates.


Currency Adjustment Factor

The currency adjustment factor (CAF) is a fee placed on top of freighting charges for carrier companies. The charge was developed to account for constantly changing exchange rates between the dollar and other currencies. Thus its goal is to offset any losses from constantly fluctuating exchange rates for carriers.


Change of Destination

A Change of Destination (COD) is a request asking the shipping line to discharge/transport the container to a destination other than the one mentioned in the Port of Discharge or Place of Delivery fields in the Bill of Lading issued. Because of this reason, the shipping lines will charge the COD fee.


Destination Delivery Charge

This is a fee that is charged based on container size and is applied to cargo. This charge is “accessorial” and is added to whatever the base price is for freight. This charge covers the costs to lift the cargo off the vessel, the cost of drayage within the terminal, and the cost of gate fees.


Import Security Filing

The Import Security Filing (ISF), which is also commonly known as 10+2 is required to be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no later than 24 hours prior to the cargo being loaded on the vessel destined to the United States.


Cleaning Container Free

CCF is the cleaning fee for the container that the importer has to pay forwarder to clean the empty container after the importer uses the container to transport the goods and pay at the deport.


Port Congestion Surcharge

This is a charge rendered to shippers in the instance that there is some sort of disturbance or other delay at the port when the shipment arrives. This could include a strike, lockout, work slowdown or stoppage, or another labor-related disruption.


Peak Season Surcharge

A Peak Season Surcharge is a fee that was proposed to account for the high volumes that carriers have to transport during peak shipping season. This is generally considered to last between the summer and November of each year. During this time carriers are able to negotiate rates because they are not desperate for freight.


Suez Canal Surcharge

The SCS is a surcharge through the Suez Canal, which applies to cargo transported through the Suez Canal.


Advance Filing Rules

Advance Filing Rule is a requirement for all carriers to electronically file the detail description of the cargo onboard their vessel when sailing to/through the Chinese and Japanese ports. The detail must be filed 24 hours before the vessel leaves the port of origin or the port of loading (POL).


Entry Summary Declaration

ENS is the fee for Manifest declaration at the port of destination for shipments going to Europe (EU). This is the surcharge for declaration of goods imported into the European Union to ensure security standards for the region.


Automated Manifest System

The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is an electronic information transmission system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Air and ocean shipments into the U.S. require an AMS filing with detailed information about the cargo, as a security measure.

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