Container Shipping

Container Shipping: All You Need to Know About

Container shipping is used to ship all kinds of things because they are standardised steel boxes. There are many companies providing cross-border services in BC.

Inflammable and hazardous materials for industrial use, foods to shoes, from computers to shoes everything is transported from one place to another place. Any business can transport their goods from A to B with container shipping.

The transportation of a container may appear to be a simple process, however, there are many checks and procedures that go in a systematic way. From the point of origin to the point of destination, let’s follow the journey of a container.

Three main stakeholders are involved in the container shipping industry –

  • Importer — The importer of goods is the one who receives cargo from another country
  • Exporter — One who wants to sell and ship its cargo to the importer.
  • Transportation Company – One who takes the cargo from the exporter to the importer.

There are many other third parties involved that assist in streamlining the process (Port, trucking companies, shipping agents, freight forwarders, etc.).


Exporters’ perspective

Let’s suppose a brand of jeans from Canada is interested in outsourcing its jeans consignment to the United States. In order to ensure its safety, the exporter will choose a particular shipping company to deliver its container to the exporter’s factory for cargo loading.

A cargo that can fit in multiple containers is shipped using a Full Container Load. This means that containers with a full 20 feet or 40 feet long are booked.

“Less than Container Load” or LCL is used if the cargo which is to be transported weighs less than a full container load.

A LCL contract pays for space inside a container by cubic metre or by the metric ton.

A freight forwarder now arranges for transport of cargo between importers and exporters by retrieving containers from shipping companies and delivering them to exporters for packing, stuffing, and sealing. The containers are sealed after these are loaded, and the exporter receives an identical number  or a unique id so that the shipment can be tracked.

A hazardous material, such as a gas or a chemical, is shipped in an IMDG container.

Likewise, refrigerated containers can preserve perishables and temperature-sensitive goods during long voyages.

Now the freight forwarder is responsible for arranging the intermodal transportation, that is, moving the container from the exporter’s warehouse or factory to the designated shipping port for loading into the ship.

As a local shipping agent for the exporter, he/she will handle all the port paperwork, customs inspections, and final inspection of the container, as well as pay the fees to move the container inside the port warehouse or storage facility.

After handing over the documents and mate’s receipt to the shipping line, the shipping agent will also collect the bill of lading from them. Exporters will now receive the certificate of origin from their local chamber of commerce.

Weighing containers in the port is done in accordance with their weights, and everything is recorded accordingly. In the port, the containers are stacked in a manner that makes it easy for their assigned vessel to remove them. Once the containers are stacked, they can be loaded onto the vessel.

On Ships

When cargo containers are to be loaded at a particular port, the shipmaster is informed in advance. Planning cargo loading is made by cargo planners of shipping companies, who assemble the data about the current cargo load conditions of the ship, the amount of fuel and water on board, and the cargo stowage.

Once the ship arrives, the container is brought from the port storage facility to the ship by container port trucks which can carry a single 40ft container or two 20ft containers.

After the container is lifted from the truck by the port cranes, then transferred to the ship, it is loaded according to the cargo plan.

Using container guides inside the cargo hold of the ship, the container can be drawn and placed within the hold.

The container will usually be kept on the deck if it is due to be unloaded in the next port. A deck container is provided with additional lashings in order to prevent it from becoming loose and falling overboard while the ship is at sea.

Workers onshore, the so-called stevedores, are responsible for container lashing. According to IMDG Code guidelines, additional precautions are taken when loading and placing a container carrying dangerous cargo.

Power plug points are required to run the refrigeration plant that is incorporated into the refrigerated containers on deck.

Immediately following the completion of loading, the ship will head to the next port.

The ship will be loaded and secured on board the container according to the loading plan, it is very important to have a loading plan.

As a result of erroneous loading plans, stacked containers whose destination is the next port will need more time to be removed from the container hold, resulting in the ship requiring more time to dock and paying for the extra time spent at the port.

It is the ship officers’ responsibility to monitor the containers during the voyage. It is checked periodically whether cargo lashing is properly securing all containers.

Ships carrying dangerous goods have their cargo containers regularly inspected for leaks and damage while at sea.

On Importer Side

The container is unloaded into the port bay or warehouse using the port’s container trucks when the ship reaches the destined port.

Upon receiving the bill of lading and other documents from the port, the importer’s representative will submit them to the shipping line.

It is the same document that was received by the Exporter in the port of origin. After receiving all of the documents, the shipment is delivered to the importer by courier.

Upon receiving the bill of lading and other documents from the port, the importer’s representative will submit them to the shipping line.

The cargo is transported by intermodal transport to the importer’s warehouse by the freight forwarder or the importer’s representative once custody has been obtained.

It has now been returned to the designated container yard of the shipping line, where it will be awaiting the next booking and onward voyage.

Today, thousands of containers connect the entire world, making it possible for businesses and individuals to conduct business worldwide. If you are looking for container shipping services in Surrey, BC for transporting your goods and other material go for All Track Transport. We are here to fulfil  your cross-border shipping needs in Surrey, BC. Contact our container specialists to discuss your shipping needs. We will provide the most reliable container transport in British Columbia.