A congestion surcharge is an additional fee imposed by carriers on shipments passing through ports facing heavy traffic or unexpected disruptions. This surcharge helps carriers cover the extra costs they have to pay due to longer vessel stays and more handling at ports with logistical challenges.
Such surcharges are usually levied in response to unanticipated events such as adverse weather conditions, labor strikes, or port infrastructure damage, which contribute to congestion. The surcharge includes costs like fuel, maintenance, and other operational costs that carriers have to pay while vessels wait for docking and unloading. The surcharge also aims to incentivize shippers to use other ports that are less congested for their shipments, which can help reduce pressure on the congested ports.