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What is "Last Free Day"?

The Last Free Day (LFD) is a term used in the shipping industry to refer to the last day that a container may be removed from a port or terminal without incurring additional storage or demurrage charges.

Demurrage is a fee that is charged by a terminal operator or port authority when a container remains at their facility beyond the agreed-upon time period. This fee is intended to compensate the terminal operator for the use of their facilities and equipment, and to encourage the timely removal of containers from the port.

The LFD is typically specified in the terms of the contract between the shipper and the carrier, and it is calculated based on the expected time of arrival of the vessel carrying the container, as well as any additional time needed for the container to clear customs and other regulatory procedures.

If the container is not removed from the port or terminal by the LFD, the shipper or consignee may be required to pay additional charges for the storage of the container. It is therefore important for shippers and consignees to carefully manage the timing of their container removal in order to avoid these additional fees.

Event descriptionFree storage days
Full container load (FCL)5 days
Less than container load (LCL))1 week at a Container Freight Station (CFS)
Rail port / ramp2 days

Customs filings

For a freight-forwarder, this means customs filings must be entered and released – a process that can’t be done until 5 days prior but must be done to pick up cargo – to do that process several documents need to be in hand. Also the “ freight” has to be released, documentation presented if originals needed and also all charges paid; again, the steamship lines can be very slow so it’s imperative to stay on top of the discharge date to know what your window is to complete that. Also clients need to know when they will get their product.

Special thanks to Danielle Negueloua at Johanson Transportation, a 3PL that specializes in freight and container transport, for helping provide some of these details.