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After 10 Years of Non-Enforcement, VIPA Says It Will Now Charge Shippers ‘Demurrage’ Fees


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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — In an effort to cut down on “congestion” at seaports in St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) will begin charging a “demurrage” fee on cargo left for more than a week at facilities it manages, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

“Recently VIPA in St. Croix has started charging demurrage for cargo left at the port for over a week,” one shipping company wrote to its customers. “Though this has always been a rule, it has never been enforced during the last 10 years.”

The shipping company said that VIPA’s fees are already a done deal for people bringing cargo into the territory.

“It is therefore very important to remove your cargo from the port in a timely manner to avoid paying these fines,” the company said. “We will continue to make sure that you are notified prior to any cargo arrival so that you are well-prepared to get your merchandise cleared with customs and picked up within the allowed time.  When placing orders it is very helpful to provide current contact phone numbers to your suppliers (as we are aware that many land lines are still not working since the storms) so that we can ensure communication.


All cargo arriving into the port has 5 weekdays to be removed from the port for free (shipping companies normally pay this fee)

Days 6-11 a demurrage charge of $0.50 per hundred pounds or $0.30 per cubic foot will be charged PER DAY!

Days 12 and after a demurrage charge of $0.90 per hundred pounds or $0.45 per cubic foot will be charged PER DAY!

How this looks to you the customer:

A standard pallet 4 feet high will be charged $16 per day for the first week, and $24 per day after that.

A Toyota Corolla (typical small car) will be charged $151 per day for the first week, and $227 per day after that.

A standard 40’ container will be charged $816 per day for the first week, $1224 per day after that.  (it would be cheaper to leave it in Times Square, NYC)

The relevant section of the tariff is on page 11 below:

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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