Space constraints are the major problems faced by shipping companies as container depots have limited space at in-house facilities. When companies need to store containers properly, it can be challenging to pass customs and may require additional documentation. Additionally, because the containers are from various sources, effectively storing and combining them can be time and labour-intensive. The solution to this problem is container freight stations acting as intermediaries for containers worldwide.

Container freight stations play a pivotal role in the global supply chain, allowing companies to store containers efficiently. This location facility can empower owners to separate different containers and forward them in the best ways possible to reduce cost and time. This blog clearly explains the role of container freight stations and how they accelerate the global supply chain.

What is Container Freight Station (CFS)?

CFS or Container Freight Station is the storage facility where container consolidation and deconsolidation occur. This primary unit handles import and export shipments by looking after the intermediate stage in which numerous sources hold goods. These are crucial for supply chain management as most are located around inland distribution cities.

Freight forwarders use freight stations mostly. But third-party logistics also hire CFS for their freight. They can be privately owned or managed by the terminals. CFS is categorized as origin or destination CFS corresponding to locations where they handle exports and imports. 

Where are the Fright Stations Located?

Container Freight Stations are located near the transportation channel to ease operations. CFS works closely with the customs department to make sure every metal box is legally permitted to the facility. Placed near the shipment hub, it allows easy forwarding of goods. Freight stations are usually used for bringing less than container load (LCL) units into a single location.

Countries like the European Union, import and export from all over the continent, may be brought into inland depots for consolidation. CFS can also be used for railway yards, road depots, and shipping.

What Purpose Does CFS Serve?

The role of container freight stations is to provide a space for grouping and ungrouping cargo to reach the right destination. Less than Container Load and Less than Truckload (LTL) units are appropriately packed and merged in case not being filled. Freight stations also arrange custom clearance processes for inspection and valuation.

Further, empty shipments from freight stations are carried to container yards, and loaded ones are sent to ports. Tracking of cargo also takes place at the facility by giving a unique identification number to each shipment. Not only are ready containers temporarily loaded and empty containers secured and kept at CFS. At container freight stations, you can maintain a record of shipment details such as truck number, name of carrier, origin and destination details, and so on.

Benefits and Functions of CFS

Container freight stations are essential in maintaining the supply chain. At CFS, the containers are consolidated into bigger containers to determine combined freight for the same destination. Whether the shipment is for one or multiple customers, containers will be de-consolidated at the goal and dispatched for final delivery. 

Container freight stations have foreign trade zones to take advantage of keeping goods outside the jurisdiction. This allows shippers to defer duty and tax payment before it is sold to a customer or consumed through the manufacturing process. 

Therefore, CFS is crucial in bringing efficiencies in inland freight movements and more inventory control. Besides, there are a variety of purposes for which CFS is used, including tracking, sorting, load preparation, transit operations, lading shipping containers to ports, container maintenance, customer clearance, and so on.

Bill of Lading and Freight Stations

The contract under the freight stations involves different services for LCL units. Every container has a bill of lading from customs authorities that will be based on the manifesto of the units. Unique tags are marked on containers for the ease of port authorities that indicate the particular service for which the container is loaded. The bill mentions the container as CFS, which denotes that the shipment will be forwarded or received at the destination. 

Further, the tag “CFS PP” given to the shipment indicates the pier-to-pier service, which means that the container will get supervision throughout the journey. In other words, the individual will oversee shipment at the point of origin and securely handle the vessel for loading. Likewise, another designated individual will ensure that goods are appropriately de-consolidated for safe handling.

Another tag on the bill of lading can be CY which signifies that the container will be sent to container yard ports.

Further, the bill contains a section that includes comprehensive information about what happened before and after the arrival of the container at the right destination point. 

Import Vs Export Freight Station 

The function of container freight stations differs depending on export and import processes. The process for export involves exporters loading goods to CFS after verifying the bill of shipping and other related documents. Then the loaded containers undergo customs clearance, in which customs authorities endorse the bill. CFS is responsible for labelling, stacking, and sorting containers while waiting for the arrival of the remaining cargo. After being loaded, the officials seal the container and hand it to the shipping line with all the required documents. 

However, the import process involves unloading the goods and holding them at a container yard where customs officials will verify them.

Further, the container is forwarded to CFS, wherein Import General Manifest is filed. The seal is broken under the presence of custom agents. A bill of import is also filed that includes the list of items. After endorsing the bill of entry, a gate pass is issued, and the container is finally passed to the importer.

Therefore, the significant difference between import and export procedures is the type of document and verification step required at CFS.

Container freight stations are instrumental in helping the supply chain keep going. Shipping companies can remove congestion and enrich loading capacity at the terminals. It is a centralized location for export and import procedures where containers are stored and consolidated legally. This blog gives you a clear idea about the working and functions of CFS before you start working with them. 

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