Free Time

The period of time allowed for the removal or accumulation of cargo before charges become applicable is known as Free Time. This is usually determined by the type of goods being shipped, the mode of transport used, and agreements between shippers and carriers. For example:

  • Perishable goods may have a shorter free time than non-perishable goods.
  • Airfreight generally has shorter free times than ocean freight.
  • Shippers and carriers may also agree to longer or shorter free times as part of their contract.

Free time typically starts when the cargo is available for pickup and ends when the cargo is loaded onto the vessel, plane, or truck. Once the cargo is loaded, detention or demurrage fees may apply if the customer does not take possession of the cargo within the free time period.

In general, Free Time is meant to give the customer a window of opportunity to take delivery of their goods without incurring extra charges. However, if the customer is unable to take delivery within the free time period, they may be liable for detention or demurrage fees.

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