The U.S. military has spent more than $720 million since 2001 on container detention fees, according to a USA Today
Scott Ross, a spokesman for the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, said his agency has been working to reduce fees paid by the military in recent years from $128 million in 2004 to $30 million last year
While the military has incurred charges globally, the vast majority of charges were related to containers supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. The government may be late in returning the containers because it needs them for storage, protecting forces and other reasons, he said.
The government sets the detention fees for containers, which vary according to locations around the world, but are the same for all carriers, Ross said. The charges are included SDDC's Universal Service Contract 6, which can be found here
For example, for dry boxes, detention charges begin to accrue after 10 days in most areas, 15 days in Saudi Arabia or so-called "exigency areas" designated by the government (After 10 days for reefers in the so-called exigency areas).
Standard daily container detention charges range from $22 for a 20-foot dry container and $35 for a 40-foot box to $92 day for a 40-foot reefer.
In so-called "exigency areas," after 90 days, the government also gets to put part of that detention charge as credit for purchase of the containers: for example, $13 per day for a 20-foot dry box, $19 for a 40-foot dry box, and $35 for a 40-foot reefer.
The price of the boxes are $3,200 for a 20-foot dry box, $5,100 for a 40-foot dry box and $35,500 for a 40-foot reefer (plus $11,000 for a genset.)
In a report last week Chinese shipping container maker CIMC noted the price of 20-foot dry cargo container had reached $3,000, a record high in recent years.