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CFS is an abbreviation used in the logistics industry while shipping goods from one destination to the other. CFS was introduced to bring more convenience to the logistics industry, especially companies dealing with small shipments.
What is CFS in shipping?
The full form of CFS in shipping is Container Freight Station. CFS refers to a warehouse that is located near shipping ports or railway stations. These stations consolidate and deconsolidate import and export cargo. CFS sends goods in large containers to Container Yards (CY) for export and collects goods from Container Yards which are then dispatched to the destination.
How does CFS work?
CFS usually deals with LCL (Less than Container Load) shipments. CFS works differently for import and export:
In the case of export
- CFS receives all the shipments bound for export
- The station consolidates LCL shipments packing shipments bound for the same destination in the same container
- The container is sent to the container yard
In case of import
- CFS receives the container with LCL shipments
- The station deconsolidates the shipment
- The shipment is transported to the destination
LCL or Less than Container Load is a shipping term used to refer to shipments that are small in size. These shipments don’t require a full container’s space for transporting them to the destination. An LCL shipment shares space with other LCL shipments from other companies in a single container. LCL shipping can reduce shipping costs because you will not have to pay for an entire container. This term is similar to LTL shipment of goods in road transport.
Functions of CFS in shipping
There are certain basic functions that a CFS is expected to perform:
- Transporting the container from ports to CFS
- Consolidating and deconsolidating the shipment
- Loading and unloading the container
- Sorting and stacking of containers pre or post shipment for further shipment to destinations
- Palletised shipping if there are any client preferences or other requirements
- Loading the container with LCL shipment from the CFS station to the truck headed for the port or the railway station
- Preparing internal load plan for the container
Benefits and features of CFS in shipping
Given below are some of the benefits of a CFS in shipping:
- Packing, sealing and marking the containers for labelling and identification by export/import authorities
- Moving empty containers from the Container Yard to the CFS
- Storage of empty containers
- Issuing dock receipt or shipping order
- Last-mile delivery in case the service is provided to clients
- Customs examination
- Manage documents like bill of lading
Also read: Shipping bill – Meaning, details, formats, types, how to download
CFS shipping charges
CFS charges in shipping comprise of money spent for each function in the shipping process followed by a CFS facility. Here is a breakdown of shipping charges of a CFS:
- Transportation charges
- Loading and unloading charges
- Handling charges
- Customs examination charges
- Cargo storage charges
- Rent for loaded containers
CFS vs CY
Unlike a CFS operated by private companies, CYs or Container Yards are operated by port authorities. These yards handle loading and unloading of exported and imported goods and provide temporary storage for containers. CYs are located within the port and have a designated area. They only deal with FCL shipments.
Why is CFS necessary?
CFS is helpful for both exporters and importers. While many large corporations have their own CFS, small businesses rely on 3PL logistics providers for their shipping needs. This is because they often ship in small batches and therefore don’t require FCL (Full Container Load) shipping.
Container Freight Stations serve as a centralised shipment location for all export and import needs of a region which helps to streamline the entire shipping process. It promotes intermodal freight and ensures the use of appropriate safety equipment and tracking systems to improve the safety of the packages in transit and optimise the movement of small cargo to their respective locations.
This decongests the ports and terminals as CFS eliminates going through customs clearance procedures for every package. These containers are loaded on a vessel that is assigned a unique identification number, which makes it easier to track products and containers.