Interested to know what exactly the process of container pick up from port involves? This blog will take you through the entire process in detail and also help you understand which types of cargo load you should consider according to your needs. Also, find out how you can save money by avoiding port surcharges.

Picture this: Your container full of cargo has reached its destination port; the cargo has been unloaded and your empty container is now at the port waiting to be picked up. All you have to do is hire a truck that will fetch the container for you. That’s it, that’s your definition of a container pickup from port.

It’s as simple as it sounds — container pick up from port = your empty containers being picked up from the destination port by a truck and taken to the next warehouse to be loaded with cargo for a new journey.

It’s a simple procedure. But to keep this process running smoothly you need to keep track of when your container is ready for pick up to avoid delays. Because if you don’t time these things, your empty container will just end up sitting in port collecting pesky pick up charges.

If you’re trying to get your hands on a box right away, then our public search feature can help you find one from vetted suppliers. Simply type in your location, the container type you require as well as the drop off location, and hit search. Browse through thousands of different boxes and find a deal to suit you best! 

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How to pick up your containers from port?

Picking up containers from a port requires some planning and preparation. Here are the most important steps you’ll need to follow:

  • Organize your documents: First things first, make sure you have all of your documentation ready. This includes the bill of lading, container number and customers clearance papers. Plus, any permits or licences required for the cargo.
  • Gather port information: Find out which terminal the container is at and the operating hours of the port.
  • Arrange suitable transport: This could be a trailer or truck, depending on the container type and size.
  • Container inspection: Once the container has been unloaded from the ship, inspect it for any damages. Check for holes, leaks or major dents in the walls, floor and ceiling.
  • Loading the container: When paperwork has been completed, the container will need to be safely loaded onto the vehicle. This may require special loading equipment.
  • Have customs documents ready: If customs documents are needed, make sure that these are on hand. Otherwise you could face problems when trying to get your containers out of the port.
  • Observe all port rules and regulations: Throughout the process, ensure that you abide by all port rules and regulations so as not to incur any fines.

steps to follow for container pick up

Now let’s learn about the two types of loads: FCL and LCL.

2 types of container loads: Full Container Load vs Less than Container Load

The two types of cargo loads that you need to keep in mind when you need a container pick up from port are:

Full container load (FCL) The container is fully loaded with only your cargo. 
Less than container load (LCL) If you have a lesser load to transport, you lease a box that is partially loaded with your cargo, while the rest of the space is shared with other shippers’ cargo.

These two loads greatly influence your pick up process. Let’s find out more about each type of load below.

FCL and container pick up from port

Now let’s understand the process of container pick up from port with an example: You have a shipment of luxury designer bags that you’re sending to the Port of Felixstowe, UK. One of the most vital steps you should keep in mind during the process is to correctly time its pickup from the port. This is crucial because, if the container exceeds the five free days for storage, you’ll end up paying delayed pick-up surcharges.

Full Container Load is always a faster process of cargo pick up because consolidation and deconsolidation entail fewer steps. Also, fewer parties handle your cargo as it travels from point A to B. The process entails as follows:

  • After being discharged from its ocean vessel and positioned at the container yard of the destination port in the UK, the FCL cargo is ready for pick up. However, this doesn’t take place the day your cargo reaches the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Due to the high TEU carrying capacity of ocean going boats, unloading is a significant undertaking. Unloading can take up to 1-3 business days depending on the volume of shipments on board an ocean carrier, crew levels, and port congestion.
  • After 1-3 days (typically) the container will be unloaded and delivered to the container yard of the destination port (Port of Felixstowe), where it will be marked as “ready for pick up.”
  • Then a trucker or drayman  picks up the container on your behalf.

If you have a huge volume of cargo to transport, FCL is the way to go. If you need a container for your FCL cargo, then click on the banner below and start finding the exact boxes you need in your preferred locations

 How LCL influences container pick up from port

With Less than Container Load cargo, the process is a bit different. The cargo is packaged, delivered to a warehouse, loaded into a container with other people’s cargo, and delivered to another warehouse. After this process, it’s deconsolidated and reconsolidated. LCL travels a great deal before arriving at its destination, and the extra travel time continues even after it reaches the PoD (in this case,UK). Here’s the process:

  • When LCL containers arrive at Port of Felixstowe, they’re not ready for pick up yet, much like the FCL cargo. As you know the ship must unload all containers, which takes roughly 1-3 business days.
  • While the FCL cargo is sent immediately to a container yard after unloading, LCL cargo has one more step – they’re sent to a Container Freight Station (CFS).
  • They’re then deconsolidated so that each shipper’s cargo can be picked up by truckers and delivered to its destination.
  • Cargo transportation from the port to a CFS takes an additional 1-2 business days, and then usually an additional 1-3 business days for the cargo to be deconsolidated and labeled as “ready for pick up” from the CFS.

That’s LCL pick up for you. You can get containers for LCL load on our platform. Furthermore, you can also track them in near-real time so you know exactly when your container needs to be picked up. Want to know how? Our team of experts can help you! Click on the banner below for a quick but thorough demo of the platform.

Monitor containers from pick up to drop off with Container xChange

In conclusion, LCL cargo may not be ready for pick up for up to 8 days after arrival, whereas, the FCL cargo typically takes not more than 3 days to be ready. Now, do you see how the load matters when it comes to container pick up from port? Let’s move on to getting you that box for whatever type of load you require.

When you join the Container xChange platform, you’re introduced to a plethora of benefits: 

  • On our online marketplace, you’ll find 10,000+ container types in 2,500+ locations worldwide.
  • When leasing your box, you’ll only connect with 1500+ top vetted suppliers whom you can negotiate with directly, without a middleman. We keep your transactions secure and scam free.
  • You can also see the performance reviews and partner ratings on their company profile on xChange. So, you decide whom you feel comfortable working with.
  • As for our rates, you have the advantage of our complete market price transparency. With this, you can compare prices, deals, and terms and select the offer that suits you the best. This way you choose exactly what you want to pay for.
  • With the xChange leasing marketplace, you get competitive rates with zero hidden fees that you won’t find anywhere with your usual sourcing channels.
  • You also get an easy payment handling system — xChange wallet — that will send you one consolidated bill to pay and securely manage all your transactions in one place.

Tracking container pick up from the port now easy with Container Control

When it comes to tracking, our innovative product Container Control is at your service. Using the Release Reference feature under this product you get:

  • Data directly from depots in near-real time. As a result, you’ll know when your containers have reached the port, hence eradicating delays due to total transparency and simple data access.
  • You can view details like ETA, point of discharge, free days, and per diems.
  • We directly confirm release references with the depot, so you won’t need to send and receive emails back and forth to learn which containers are ready for pick up.
  • Additionally, you can monitor pickups and drop-offs at your fingertips from anywhere.
  • And we’ll provide complete customer support if you encounter any problems with container movements.

You can learn more about Container Control and its features and benefits on our blog here.

All this can help you get an exact idea of when your container is going to reach the port so you can assign a pick up truck accordingly. You will also know exactly when your container is ready for pick up so you can send in your drayman without any delays!

If you’re ready to grab a good deal on your box, connect with big names in the industry like Seaco Global, Trident, SeaCube, and other trusted names, and track your containers in near-real time, all you have to do is head to our platform to start leasing, networking and tracking today!

Now, since a lot of your concerns regarding container logistics are taken care of by our offerings, let’s circle back to the beginning where we addressed the troubles surrounding levied pick up charges.

How long does a container pick up from port take and who levies pick up charges?

You already know how long a container takes to be picked up depending on the load (LCL cargo takes 8 days to be picked up, whereas, the FCL cargo takes not more than 3 days to be ready).

To put it simply, a container pick up charge is a one-time charge for each container that is picked up at the port of loading (POL).

Every transaction has two parties: the buyer and the seller. Depending on the terms of their contract, one or both of them may be responsible for paying the fees associated with container pick up. However, it’s typically the freight forwarder who levies costs for container pick up.

Now to finally answer the burning question — what is that one factor that levies pick up charges? It’s empty container repositioning. These charges are levied in order to create balance with quick turnaround time and regulate empty container repositioning.

contaienr pick up from port

How does empty container repositioning lead to levied pick up charges?

The procedure is as follows; depending on the state of the market, either the supplier or the user will be responsible for paying the pick up fee.

For example, a user picks up boxes in a surplus area, say the UK. The user then takes them to a place where suppliers are experiencing container shortages. Here the supplier will be responsible for paying the cost to the users to reposition their empty equipment into deficit locations. This is because the suppliers are the ones in need of the users to get their boxes to the deficit locations, hence the suppliers will need to pick up the tab for these fees.

Pick up charges are typically paid by the user in locations where the supplier faces a shortage of containers. For example, in India, where there’s a decrease in container availability. 

Now with port congestion, new regulations to control the imbalances, and strict inspections, delays in shipments are inevitable. These delays link to container pick up charges.

So, is there any way out of paying these fees and saving money? Yes, we have a solution for you.

Lease one-way containers and avoid charges for container pick up from port with Container xChange

You can avoid paying pick up charges by leasing containers one-way on our platform. A one-way container is, as its name implies, a container that travels from one location to another, carrying cargo, without making any stops along the way or after arrival. Hence, there are no extra charges for delays caused by having to load/unload the container.

Leasing one-way containers gives you the freedom to choose your own positioning opportunities at pre-selected locations. This benefit of a one-way container lease implies that you will ultimately save money and avoid extra surcharges.

What’s more, once you have moved the cargo to its destination, you can sell the container again on our platform at a good price and help in repositioning them!

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the banner below to lease one-way containers at inexpensive rates, and know exactly when your container pick up from port is ready to be collected all on one platform!

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Container pick up from port: Common FAQs

How do you pick up a container from the port?

After your container in the destination port yard is labeled “ready for pick up” you can send a trucker/drayman to pick up your container.

What happens when a container arrives at the port?

Once your unit arrives at the port it is unloaded from the vessel onto the port’s destination yard.

What is unloading a container called?

Stripping is the process of unloading a container when it arrives at the port.