A lot of freight that is being imported or exported from the USA passes through Florida. The amount of container freight in Florida continues growing as more people move to Florida, and more companies shift their shipments away from the West Coast. Many companies are moving their freight away from the West Coast to reduce lead times, costs, and for other less common reasons.
Large volumes of international freight are shipped by ocean containers because of the low cost and easy handling of ocean containers. Shipping by ocean container requires several parties at both the origin and destination countries. The parties involved in a single ocean shipment range from truckers and freight forwarders to customs brokers. Warehouses are an important part of the ocean shipping process, and there is at least one warehouse involved at both the origin and destination.
A reliable container warehouse makes it easy to get your freight where it needs to go.
How to Get Containers Unloaded or Loaded
Warehouses that can service a dock-high trailer are required for loading and unloading ocean containers. A facility at the origin country must load the empty ocean container with freight. Then a warehouse at the destination country receives the loaded container, and unloads the shipment. Warehouses play a critical role in ocean shipping, and without them there is no way to load or unload freight from a container.
Some freight is palletized before it is loaded into containers. Other times, many workers are needed to manually fill the entire container with loose cartons of freight. Palletized freight is loaded and unload from the container on pallets for easy handling. Loose loaded cartons require many manhours for both loading and for unloading. Normally loose loaded freight is palletized and shrink wrapped at destination during unloading to make it easier to handle.
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to load freight into a container loose or on pallets. Common considerations when deciding whether to loose load a container are:
- the durability and fragility of the goods
- how efficiently the freight fills the container when palletized compared to loose loaded
- the size and weight of the freight
Freight That Receiving Warehouses Handle
Receiving warehouses near the destination help to process inbound container freight. Warehouses that receive freight from containers often offer unloading for both palletized freight and loose loaded freight. Note that because of the labor and materials required for loose unloading containers, it is significantly more expensive to unload loose freight.
Warehouses that are receiving containers need to know that they can safely and properly handle your freight to meet all expectations.
The receiving warehouse should be provided with the following freight details to ensure their handling exceeds expectations.
- any special storage requirements
- the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) if applicable
- the type(s) of goods in the shipment
- how the freight is packaged
- desired pallet configurations (if building pallets from a loose shipment)
- any applicable labeling requirements
- and anything else the warehouse should know to handle your goods once they arrive
When To Use a Palletizing Warehouse
Suppliers and shippers often send ocean containers full of loose loaded cartons in overseas shipments. Palletizing warehouses at the destination turn these loose loaded cartons of freight into easy to handle pallets. When freight is not on pallets it takes a long time to handle or move because each carton must be touched to move it. Instead a palletizing warehouse places many cartons onto one pallet that can be moved on its own, and that one pallet has many cartons on it.
If you have a large shipment of loose cartons that is near its destination, then you may want to find a palletizing warehouse. Loose shipments should be palletized near their destination to save on shipping costs, because a single loose loaded container easily turns into 2 or 3 loads after it is palletized. That is, it is a lot cheaper to ship a single loose loaded container a far distance compared to multiple palletized containers over the same distance.
If you have a shipment of loose loaded cartons then a palletizing warehouse can help. If your shipment is already on pallets, then you can use a warehouse that does not offer palletizing.
Short-Term Container Storage Options
Freight that arrives by ocean container often requires short-term storage as it nears the final destination. Container freight that ships by ocean carrier normally has a longer lead time compared to other modes of transportation, and these longer lead times make it hard for the destination to plan for the future delivery.
By the time the container arrives at destination it has normally been several months since the shipment was originally ordered. A lot can happen over a couple months, and many times the destination does not have enough space to store the shipment or the destination cannot accept the shipment until a certain date. When the destination cannot accept the freight, a short-term container storage solution must be found.
When the destination cannot accept the container, consider these short-term container storage solutions.
- Ask the drayage carrier to hold to container at their yard (only for very short time)
- Rent a local storage container for overflow and use it to store the shipment in
- Ask a friendly neighbor if they have space you can use for a bit
- Find a third-party (3PL) warehouse provider, like Warehousing Etc, to unload and hold the goods at