Definition of demurrage in US English:



  • A charge payable to the owner of a chartered ship in respect of failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed.

    • ‘The shipowner could earn more at less risk by making sure there were demurrage clauses in the charter party.’
    • ‘These agreements stipulated that the ships would be inspected by government officials, that they would sail in convoy and that demurrage would be paid in the event of delay.’
    • ‘How long is a ship obliged to remain on demurrage, and what are the rights of the owner if the charterer detains her too long?’
    • ‘Importers must also pay shipping companies demurrage, which is a charge imposed to cover the time between the arrival of its vessel and the return of its container delivered at the port.’
    • ‘Were a port to be built adequate for large vessels, would it be able to handle the steamer traffic, which could allow only a few hours to load and unload without incurring demurrage costs?’


Mid 17th century (also in the general sense ‘delay’): from Old French demourage, from the verb demourer (see demur).