16 January 2023

Empty Container Returns

We are starting to see increased pressure on empty container yards, to the point where they have started to reject new deliveries.

You may have experienced this already, or soon will. We have become an informal hub for empties with nowhere to go, which in turn limits the number of containers that we can fit into our yards.

To add insult to injury, some shipping lines are charging importers for so-called ‘detention charges’ when they fail to return the empty containers by the due date. One legal advisor with specialist knowledge in this area, Pauline Davies of Fee Langstone said, 

“The obligation on cargo interests is to return containers to the place nominated by the carrier, within the free period. It seems to me that if a place of redelivery is either not nominated by the carrier, or if it is impossible to return containers to that place, the right to charge detention does not arise. Contractual performance is simply not possible. If [the shipping company] continues to nominate a place that won't accept empties, arguably the nomination is invalid.” Hat tip to CBAFF

If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out.

Aaron Hobbs

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