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Container shipping in 10 steps

What is Container Shipping?

Container shipping services are crucial for international trade. Whether you are purchasing goods from India or you are purchasing goods from abroad, having an economical way for the shipment of goods is necessary. This is the exact scenario where container shipping services come into the role play.

Transport of freight containers

There are several modes of transportation for which freight containers are used. These include:

  • Cargo ships: consignment is transported by ocean going ships using container shipping which will travel particular routes on fixed schedules.
  • Airfreight: Airplanes are considered as faster mode but can carry much less freight. Therefore they are much more expensive and are taken as less environmentally friendly way for the shipment.
  • Rail freight: Rail can be seen as an efficient way for transporting freight from a seaport to the buyer’s warehouse across the country. Containers are moved using crane from ship to a railroad car.

How container shipping works from origin to destination

Everyday numerous containers arrive on air as well as sea ports from countries around the world. Each shipment determines specific supply chain whether it is handicrafts from India or equipments from china. Each and every supply chain is unique in itself as they don’t relate with each other even if their country of origin is similar. The shipping containers used are sealed so that the commodities can remain safe and secure within the container until it arrives at the buyer’s warehouse. If time is not an essential factor for the consignment being shipped then container shipping via ocean freight is preferred. As it will cost less as compared to air freight.

Container shipping can be summarized within the following 10 steps. Let’s understand how container shipping works from seller’s end to buyer. For understanding this process in a more effective way we can assume a scenario.

  • Step 1: An electronics supply store is running low on the season’s hot new mobiles, which are manufactured in Korea. The store places an order for 300 mobile set. The company works with some freight forwarders for arranging transport from the Korean factory for the shipment of mobiles.
  • Step 2 : As per the arrangement Transport Company arrives at the exporter’s factory, loads the order, in the relevant container along with other orders from other retailers if any and fit it with high security seal. The container is sealer until it reaches any of the destination port. It can’t be opened until and unless the officials decide to open it for inspection purpose.
  • Step 3 : The freight forwarder then determines the nearest port from which it can be shipped using ocean freight. Freight forwarder contacts the shipping company and submits the required documents at the port.
  • Step 4 : After the document submission and customs clearance the container is loaded on a ship and is bound for discharge towards the destination port.
  • Step 5 : Few days prior the arrival of ship at destination port, the captain is supposed to provide a report to the government of the destination country. This report usually contains details about the ship, its crew and the cargo that has to be shipped.
  • Step 6 : After receiving the proper clearance for arrival at port, the container vessel docks makes arrangement for large cranes using which the shipping container will be unloaded from the ship to the dock.
  • Step 7 : Number of dockworkers arrive to work the ship. This worker includes crane operators, customs officers, lashers, cargo equipment operators, etc.
  • Step 8 : Customs officials arrive and check for the proper documentation and careful evaluation of container and then specific inspection is performed.
  • Step 9 : Once done with customs clearance, the container is loaded onto the truck trailer. Now these truck trailers ship the products to the buyer’s place. These are often transported by train when the shipment has to done at distant place.
  • Step 10 : The container arrives at the import distribution centre or we can say warehouse, where the container is opened and the orders for individual stores are separated. After this they are prepared for shipment. The very next day the shipment is delivered to the buyer’s place.