A Container Freight Station refers to a facility that consolidates or de-consolidates freight before preparing such freight for the next leg of its journey. Most CFS will be located close to ports of entry such as airports, ocean container ports and major railway hubs. In the US, a CFS is designated by its FIRMS code.
Most of the time it is a warehouse where goods and products that do not fit into one container are collected, stored and wait for other goods to fill a container before they are shipped to the next destination. As such, the CFS is used with Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping where one shipment is not enough to fill a container.
Once the shipment arrives at the facility, it is consolidated and packaged into a Full Container Load (FCL) shipment, which can then be transported to the next stage. LCL is thus more cost-effective when a client does not have enough goods to fill a container and opts to share the space in a container with those of another shipper, rather than pay for a full container.
There are two types of CFS: Origin and Destination.
Origin CFS – A container freight station in the country from where the goods originate. This is where freight is consolidated before the goods are shipped to the destination station.
Destination CFS – A container freight station in the destination country where freight is de-consolidated before each individual shipment is sent to the rightful client.
They are excellent for time-sensitive air freight shipments as they facilitate the fast direct movement of such shipments from the airport and delivery to different destinations in a few hours to a few days.
They increase the efficiency of the supply chain particularly for businesses that involve regular export and import of goods that need short term storage before being de-consolidated, repackaged and prepared to be delivered to the final consignee.
CFS warehouses are excellent for businesses that need dedicated consolidation services since they do not have the volumes for Full Container Loads (FCL). This results in cost savings for the business.
They provide an additional layer of security reducing the risk of theft or damage as goods are transported directly from the port or airport to the secure container freight station warehouse.
The container freight station has to ensure that the goods are secure and safe until they are either shipped or picked up. In addition to ensuring the safety of the goods, they need to ensure that the goods are sorted properly and are ready for the next stage.
At any time, the CFS may have shipments that are about to be exported, some that are awaiting pickup by the consignee and others that just arrived. As such, logistics and administration are some of the most important functions of the CFS.
Receiving services provided by the Container Freight Station Include:
- Preparing containers internal loading plan
- Moving empty containers from a container yard to a CFS
- Stacking and sorting containers after or before shipment
- Container storage
- Issuing shipping order and dock receipts
- Stuffing, marking, and sealing of containers for identification and labelling
- Physically moving cargo out or into the CFS