Unique Concepts to Sea Transportation

Port Demurrage – Sea cargo in a port accrues demurrage at a different rate than airports or border crossings. Due to the size and complexity of port operations, containers and bulk cargo items are typically given two weeks of free storage before demurrage accrues. This port demurrage rate is variable however, and free demurrage may vary for container and break bulk cargo based on the carrier agreement with the port, the shipping line companies, and the local governments ranging from two days to fourteen days.

Flag Carrying Vessel – The majority of the surface area of the world’s oceans are considered international waters, and vessels themselves may spend the majority of their time in non-incorporated international water. By binding international maritime law, all vessels must still be registered as a “flag carrier” for some country on earth. A vessel carrying the flag of a certain country does not mean the vessel was manufactured there, nor does it mean the crew or anything about the operation is connected to that country, it only means that’s the country the vessel is registered in. By regulation, vessels must spend at least some portion of the year docked in the country through which they are registered. Regulation also states that the country to which the vessel is registered has the ultimate authority and responsibility to enforce safety and pollution standards, and prosecute any violators under local law.

Vessel Limitations – Modern shipping vessels are becoming larger and more sophisticated, however it is extremely difficult - and at times impossible – to update seaports to accommodate these ships for a number of reasons. Additionally, many vessels might require additional specialised Material Handling Equipment (MHE) that isn’t always available in every port, especially under developed or neglected ports in countries prone to natural disasters and conflicts.  Limitations vessels might face include:

  • Hull Draft – Some vessels have drafts too deep for some harbours, which are limited by the natural topography of the ocean floor.
  • Offloading – Smaller and unimproved seaports may lack the offloading equipment to move containers and bulky items. Vessels moving these items may need deck mounted cranes to move items themselves.
  • Size – Vessels that are too long may not be able to adequately berth to offload cargo.
  • Flag Carrying Vessels – Some vessels may be banned from entry to harbours due to their source origin or registered flag.
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