The choice between having one’s own cargo box and using a carrier-owned container is a difficult one. SOC Containers and COC Containers are the two most talked-about topics. Every shipper wants the best option that they can get to deliver cargo shipments timely. This helps in saving costs.

Choosing between SOC and COC is one such question that fills our minds with immense confusion. Since both SOC and COC possess a discrete set of pros and cons, shippers often get confused as to which can be truly best for their freight forwarding. Through this article, we will try to explain all pros and cons of SOC & COC to help you get a deeper insight into them.

What are SOC Containers?

SOC refers to “Shipper’s Owned containers” which mean a shipping unit owned by shippers themselves and not the carrier company. There are various ways through which you can ship your consignment. You can make use of a carrier’s container, consolidate freight in other’s boxes or bring your own cargo boxes as well.

The question here that arises is, why would someone bring their own box when carrier companies already have ample boxes? That is where the whole centric point of using SOC Containers lies. There are incredible advantages of having one’s own cargo container, i.e., SOC container.

Benefits of using SOC Containers

1. Avoid demurrage and detention charges

Demurrage and detention are the two such charges that severely affect the entire shipping budget. Demurrage is the charge issued when your goods are sitting at the cargo terminal beyond the allotted time while detention is the fee imposed by the carriers for prolonged use. This means keeping the equipment for more than the contractual time frame or could also mean holding trucks for extra time. It can happen due to various reasons:

  • Custom Clearance- Most often, the customs clearance process takes anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. But sometimes, your shipping unit may have to rest for days if the inspection officer suspects any doubt. Various conditions affect the delay or rejection caused to your shipment.
  • Permanent Rejection– Several reasons lead to permanent rejection of shipment. It could be mis-declaration of cargo, under-valuing of cargo, and even in cases of import of restricted products.
2.You get rid of freight consolidation

Freight consolidation is a method by which various shippers within a particular geographic region combine their goods into a single shipping unit which is then shipped to the destination port where the consolidated goods are broken and handed to the authorized holder. In this case, shippers often have to wait for shipping unit to get full.

The more the number of days for which your box will be held in terminals, the more the cargo box operator is going to charge. At this point, SOC Containers can be a boon for you.

Read more about FCL and LCL here

3.Can ship to the remote location

In remote locations, the flow of shipments and cargo units carrying them is not constant. Since they’re not the high surplus area, transportation might not be flexible. You may have to wait for days for the vessel to get completely stacked with cargo boxes. These locations are known to have high process uncertainty with slow custom procedures and unreliable port operators. Using a SOC for remote locations can keep you away from any uncertainties like this

4.Acts as a backup during port congestion

Overcapacity comes along with the high season. During high/peak season, the rate of import and export significantly rise where some units are loaded and unloaded onboard and from the vessel respectively. Port congestion is likely to occur because, with the increasing shipment, the customs clearance is delayed. The units can be held in the terminal for days levying you to pay for demurrage and detention charges. Thus, SOC boxes also help you during port congestion (especially during the peak season) by keeping your money in your pocket.

5.Sets you free during the peak season

You can avoid high prices during the peak season. There is an increased demand for shipping containers as there are a large number of shipments waited to be delivered in various parts of the world. Due to this increased demand, there is often a shortage of freight containers.

Having a shipper-owned container proves to be advantageous for the exporter in such times. You do not have to worry about container availability with shipping carriers as you can easily deliver your shipments in time.

What are COC Containers?

COC refers to “Carrier Owned Containers”. The carrier company itself possesses these shipping boxes. In this case, the majority of controls are in the hands of the carriers. Shippers should follow certain rules and regulations set by carriers regarding the time and container usage.

Any sort of delay or damage to the unit will make you liable to pay. With COC comes the two most devastating charges- demurrage and detention. If not controlled, they can exceed beyond the value of your actual cargoes.

Benefits of using COC Containers

There are certain benefits of using COC Containers. However, they are not as useful as SOC.

1.No worries for storage space

When you do not own any box, you do not need to worry about the storage space. COC is the carrier’s property and it’s the carrier company that takes care of the storage space of their boxes. COC can be convenient when there is a fluctuating import and export demand. This is the responsibility of the carrier company to adjust the shipments according to the storage space of the unit.

2.Free from container repositioning

The carrier company should look after repairs and maintenance of the cargo unit after the delivery of the shipment. The consignee does not need to worry about the boxes anymore.

There are no further obligations for the consignee once they have returned to the carrier’s container depot. The customer doesn’t have to ensure the shipping container maintenance as it goes back to the carrier company.

3.Offer discounts

During some low seasons or places where uncertain shipments result in an overstock of empty units at the carrier’s port- you can even earn some discount. As there is a surplus number of empty containers available, carriers look for getting more customers by offering discounts. Even shippers help the carrier evacuate some boxes by using them for export cargoes.

Comparison between SOC and COC Containers

SOC ContainersCOC Containers
One can easily avoid demurrage and detention charges as you have no obligations to return the cargo unit within a time frame.The carrier company charges hefty demurrage and detention charges if you are using the shipping container beyond the time you paid for.
You do not have to worry about peak season container availability. This is because you possess your own container and can transport your cargo shipments anywhere.Since there is an increased demand for cargo units during peak season, there is a shortage of containers with the carrier companies. This effects your shipments deliveries.
Shipper owned containers are more flexible.COC containers are less flexible as compared to SOC units.
You can easily transport cargo in remote locations if you have SOC units.The shipper has to meet certain regulations set by the carrier lines.
They are cost-effective.They are more expensive than SOC boxes.

SOC vs COC: Who wins? 

When it comes to choosing between SOC vs COC, SOC Containers tend to win more votes. This is because of the several advantages offered. SOC boxes give their owner the complete right to make any decision regarding the box, shipment, and other things.

It allows for full control, flexibility, and freedom. You not only save on cost but also escape from additional penalties like demurrage and detention charges. You can ship cargo in any location you want, and there is no worrying about cargo box unavailability during the peak season as well. One-time buying can yield you years of benefits.

Where do I buy SOC containers from? 

With the increasing surge in international trade and shipping requirements, the number of container suppliers has increased. Whether in port location or inland, various suppliers around the world can supply you with SOC boxes.

At BOXXPORT, we help you acquire SOC containers with great ease and flexibility. You can effortlessly trade containers from anywhere in the world. We have a wide variety of shipping container types available with us. You can purchase new containers or used containers and even sell your old containers online.