Container hire is a commercial matter between the shipper and the carrier – it makes up part of their carriage contract, so therefore shippers should consider the full cost of their transport when choosing their carrier.
Lines are in the business of having satisfied customers – if you have a specific exceptional circumstance, talk to your carrier. Most shipping lines are willing to listen and make determinations on a case-by-case basis and come to a reasonable arrangement.
It would not be good for lines to make a general extension on de-hire periods as it would encourage all, not only those in earnest need to be slow to unpack and return their containers. Containers are an essential part of the supply chain, they need to remain in circulation. Without containers there is no carriage. Their rapid processing, unpacking and return needs to be incentivised.
If you hire a container then you are reasonably expected to give it back when you have contracted to do so. The lines need these containers to carry out their business, and shippers are the first to complain when there is a shortfall in available containers whether dry, food grade or reefer.
If you don’t return a container on time then the cost to the line is not only the cost of the container it is also opportunity cost of the lost revenue for a sale that they could not make.
If you hire a truck and decide not to return it, or return it late – you would expect to pay a penalty or a late return fee. When you hire a container you should expect similar arrangements.