Crux Systems Insights

When your container is transshipped

February 13, 2020 by Kathleen Kong |

Logistics, Container tracking

If you’re traveling to the other side of the world, you’ll likely have to fly into a major airport hub and then transfer to a regional flight in order to get to your final destination. The same thing happens when you’re shipping cargo.

The major shipping lines offer services covering virtually the entire globe using what are known as transshipment hubs, which are ports along their service routes that have connections to larger ports. At these ports, containers are off loaded from one vessel and loaded onto another for the next leg of their journey.  

About three percent of the containers currently tracked in the Crux Systems platform will be transshipped en route to their final destination. If your container is one of them, here’s what you need to know.

Why containers are transshipped

Transshipments can happen for a number of different reasons, including the trade lanes that a steamship line covers for its standard routes, the origin of the cargo, and the location and size of the original port of loading. 

When the closest port is limited to river access, your container will start its journey on a feeder vessel to the ocean port. If the original port of loading is too small to accommodate large vessels, the container will first be loaded onto a smaller ship and then moved to a port that can accommodate larger vessels. Shipping lines prefer to load containers at these larger ports as it's more likely they'll be able to maximize the use of space on the vessel.

Potential problems with transshipments

Any time a container is transshipped, the potential for delays increases. The container may not get discharged from the original vessel in time to get transferred to the next vessel. In addition, the next vessel could also be overbooked, and your container may get bumped and re-scheduled for a different vessel (read more about rolled containers and what to expect). 

According to the JOC 2018 Top 50 Global Container Ports, Singapore, Busan, and Hong Kong are all heavily reliant on transshipments. You may need to pay more attention to your containers moving through these ports. 

What to expect when your container is transshipped

If your container is transshipped, most of the time you will get information from the shipping line that the vessel name and the port of discharge have been changed. How quickly you can expect to receive this information will vary by shipping lines. 

With better visibility about what’s happening with your shipments, including updates on key milestones and the status of your shipment, you can get notified when there are delays so that you can better coordinate with the rest of your team and your customers. 

Here's what you can expect to see on your dashboard: 

  1. Within network: when the updated port of discharge is one of the ports in North America within our coverage network, the container status will be “on ship” and the ETA will become available once it gets closer to the port.
  2. Out of network: the container status will be “out of network” when the container is staying at the port where it's being transshipped, which means the container is not leaving the port in the short term, or when the updated port of discharge is any port outside of North America.
  3. En route: the container status will be “en route” when it’s on the first leg of its journey until the final port of discharge is determined. 

To keep a closer eye on your transshipments, sign up for a free account today.