Transloading is the method of bringing ocean containers inland to distribution centers without sorting the contents to a single destination. Transloading can reduce shipping costs by reducing total landed costs through reduced handling. Below are some specific things to consider when analyzing the potential for shipping costs savings via transloading:
Additional fees will accrue for containers with more than a specific number of cartons. The additional price of several thousand small cartons could negate the freight savings of transloading.
Locations farther east from the U.S. West Coast discharge port are more costly. Be sure that your destination would still bring you freight savings.
CONSOLIDATION IS KEY
Ocean containers that can be consolidated into fewer, larger domestic trailers will bring you the highest cost savings. Also, shipping full loaded ocean containers to a single container freight station is optimal so that it can be transloaded at the port of discharge and be merged with other inbound cargo to be shipped to its destination using the best transport mode for your needs.
Ocean cargo is rarely palletized at the point of origin in order to maximize space in ocean containers; however, Palletizing during the process of transloading may improve efficiency once it arrives at the distribution center.
Be aware that unloading, handling, and reloading ocean containers at the port of discharge is time consuming and will affect transit times. You should allow up to three days for this process to avoid any delivery commitment issues.
Merging in transit enables products to be combined even when they are arriving in containers from different origins and shippers. International products can also be combined with domestic suppliers who share the same distribution center to aid in efficiency.
Ocean containers are commonly cleared through Customs at their final inland destinations; however, it could be beneficial to make entry at the port of discharge. This way there is no need for the shipment to be moved in-bond, which brings additional costs; and it also increases flexibility in handling cargo.
Transloading gives you the option to bypass distribution centers and expedite delivery to the customer. This reduces distribution center charges and improves transit time to keep supply chain expenses lower.