When shipping containers, there are several factors that will ultimately determine how much you will pay for your ocean freight rate. Steamship lines look at the shipping lanes involved and the commodity as well as the dates you are looking to ship and come up with a rate. What they are not including is the surcharges that will be added on to your base ocean rate that will be what you actually pay. Much like the airlines have been doing to its passengers lately, everything is sort of “a la carte”. Depending on where you are shipping, you will find different surcharges that will make up your final bill of lading.

In shipping contracts, these factors are very strict. These surcharges have rules. They must be spelled out in the contract so that the customer is aware of the charges, which is only fair, but there are more maritime rules than that regarding surcharges. Steamship lines need to have these charges listed in order for clear reference to the tariff involved. If there are acronyms used, they must be clearly spelled out in the beginning and all terms must be consistent throughout the contract to avoid problems down the line.

Whether it is a terminal handling charge or a bunker adjustment factor, surcharges can bring up the cost of shipping freight. If you are looking for cheap international shipping, you may find that these add-ons can creep up on you. Before shipping any international freight, be sure you know all surcharges involved so that you can be prepared when the bill arrives. Consult with a trusted freight forwarder who can walk you through the correct process.