There are various different ways to move cargo, by Air, by Road and by Sea. When moving cargo by sea, freight is loaded into containers. Containers come in a variety of sizes, 20’, 40’ & 45’ are the most commonly used, containers can be moved seamlessly between ships, trucks and trains.
There are also 20’ and 40′ Open Top containers -used mainly when freight requires overhead loading. Flat Racks – normally used for machinery or awkward / out of gauge cargoes, refrigerated (Reefer), liquid bulk, 40’ High Cube containers 40’ high cube open top containers.
Depending on the cargo being shipped will determine which containers for freight to use.
Shippers are responsible for loading cargo into the containers securely, taking into consideration weight distribution and sufficient lashing and choking.
Every container has a unique number, which is used to identify and track the container and they are made from aluminum or steel. To standardise the manufacture they are made to ISO specifications regarding dimensions and ‘strength’ regardless who or where the container is manufactured.
Once the container is loaded at the supplier’s warehouse the container will be moved by road and or Rail to the container terminal, where containers are transshipped between trucks and vessels.
If a supplier only has a pallet to ship they use a groupage or LCL service where freight is delivered/consolidated at a depot. Once all the freight has been received the warehouse will load the cargo received from various shippers into a container to be shipped to the required port where the freight is unloaded and distributed to the various consignees