After shipping your cargo, you must be wondering how it would reach its predefined destination. An exporter is usually very nervous and his anticipation is at peak until the consignment is delivered safely in the shipping container. Well, a shipping container travels a long and complex journey after you book it for shipping your goods to the consignee. The growth and success of an import/export company somewhat entirely depends on the shipping process. Therefore, safe and on-time delivery of a shipping container is very essential, and it totally depends on how the shipping container is delivered. Let us take a look at the journey of a shipping container.
Shipping containers travel from one dockyard to another during the entire shipping process.
The entire shipping journey of a container can be explained in a few steps:
First, it starts with a booking!
Like we first book the tickets of a flight before boarding it, you need to book a container before it starts the shipping journey. You can choose to book the container through the online portal of your preferred logistics company. You can select either an FCL container (if your cargo is large) or an LCL container (if your cargo is small) depending on your requirements. Bookings are categorised either by factory stuffing or dock stuffing.
Second, it is loaded and packed
Here, the basic thing to understand is that the initial journey of your cargo depends upon its stuffing. There are two types of stuffing – Factory stuffing and Dock stuffing.
- Factory Stuffing: In case of factory stuffing, once the booking note is taken and the container is obtained, it is taken directly to the factory for stuffing the cargo. The stuffed container is then transported to the yard for customs clearance. From there, it is gated in and loaded on the port and then transported to the transhipment port.
- Dock stuffing: In case of dock stuffing, after the booking, the goods are transported to the dock where it is stuffed into the container and loaded at the port.
Also, if it is an FCL container, it will be sealed safely at that spot only. On the other hand, if it is an LCL container, it will go around other suppliers’ spots for collecting the cargo. Once the container is filled up to its maximum loading capacity, the gates of the container are closed and sealed with the security stamp of the logistics. The sealed container is then taken to the seaport.
Third, it boards the ship.
Once the container reaches the seaport from where it will be sailed off, the port crane operator loads the container onto its vessel along with hundreds of other containers. The vessel is sailed only after it gets custom clearance and is approved for export. There are a lot of formalities and paperwork that are completed by the logistics company before the departure of the vessel.
Fourth, it stops at the transhipment ports
Just like a train hauls at several stations, a ship too stops at the transhipment ports. Every shipping company usually has its own hubs for transferring the containers. If the journey of your container is through a vessel that conducts trans-ocean sailings, it will stop at a number of ports where the vessel is unloaded and loaded again with some more new containers. During this time, your container is put to rest.
Fifth, it covers the route
The container sits securely on its vessel and covers the route of the ship. It crosses thousands of miles of ocean to reach its destination.
Sixth, it is unloaded from the vessel
After sailing thousands of miles in the ocean, the container reaches its destination port where it is unloaded. With the help of port crane operators and modern container terminals, the containers can be off-loaded from the vessel within 24 hours. Once the container is back on the dry land, it clears the customs and clearance formalities before it is ready to be transported again.
Seventh, it goes through customs clearance.
All imported goods of a container go through an extensive custom clearance process. The custom department checks the legal papers of the goods and verifies whether any taxes or duty needs to be paid or not. The customs also has the authority to open the container and conduct a physical examination of the goods inside it.
Finally, it reaches its destination!
Once the container gets its clearance, it is taken off the port and transported to the predefined destination. The destination of the container can either be a warehouse of the consignee or any dockyard where the container is unloaded. So, this is the entire journey of a container from its source to the destination. After you book a container, it goes a long way around the world. Just like a travel agent can plan our journey in an efficient manner, a good logistics or shipping company can also plan a secured journey of your cargo. All you need to do is book a container that is best suitable for your shipment. You can also specify your requirements to the shipping company. Remember, the entire shipping process involves a lot of risks and there are chances of theft, loss or rough handling of goods if you do not book the container from a reliable source. Always do thorough research before choosing any container for your shipment requirements. Complete knowledge will help you to mitigate the chances of any unfortunate that might encounter while your goods will be en-route.