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Category Archives: Ocean Shipping

A Look at Port Congestion at Major Seaports (Causes and Consequences)

port congestion at major seaports

Port congestion is a current reality across many ports of the US. It is estimated that of the 10 nation’s busiest ports at least 7 are facing congestions as a result of the global supply chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic during the second and third quarters of 2020; affecting manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

Let’s look at the situation of the main two port complexes to understand the causes of their congestions and the consequences.

Los Angeles/Long Beach

The port of Los Angeles/Long Beach began experiencing a surge in imports last August. Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka informed in mid-November that loaded imports from October were up 29% over 2019 and they were expecting a 41% increase in the weeks ahead. This volume of cargo is the main reason for the current port congestion. To worsen the situation, Southern California warehouses are at or near capacity. In the same briefing, Seroka said that “containers are accumulating in large numbers with fewer and fewer places to put them”.

The Los Angeles Times reported just days ago “a flotilla of almost a dozen cargo vessels sits anchored south of Los Angeles, waiting for berth space, while around the twin ports of L.A. and Long Beach, shipping containers are already stacked five and six high – the maximum the fire department will allow”.

One of the most critical consequences of this situation is the slow return of equipment to their ports of origin or wherever they are needed to load new cargo. This has created a huge deficit of equipment, especially in Asian ports. In recent days the Port of Los Angeles registered 330,180 TEUs empty, which is more than double the TEUs of loaded exports.

Port of NY and NJ

Continuing its recovery from 2019 volume levels, the Port of New York and New Jersey surpassed its all-time September record as factories and manufacturers around the world increased production in preparation for the holiday season and growing concerns of future supply chain disruptions. The Port reported a total volume of 720,969 TEUs in September 2020, which was a 15.4 percent increase from September 2019 (624,961 TEUs). Although this is good news it creates a big problem in the supply chain because of the port congestion.

This high volume of imports on the East Coast has triggered a heavy container freight backlog at this port. As of Nov. 19th, there was a 6-mile backup of trucks trying to enter the GCT Bayonne facility. Congestion has also been reported at the Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT).

As reported by the JOC, queues and congestion at New York-New Jersey tend to worsen after the arrival of large ships that discharge thousands of containers. As a consequence, demurrage fees started being charged on boxes that were not removed before free storage time expired; this is a big problem for trucking companies and drayage dispatchers since drivers do not want to collect equipment that might not be released because of pending fees.

In New York-New Jersey, most terminal demurrage begins at $145/day for the first four days after free-time expiration. Daily fees escalate to $195 per day for the fifth through ninth days and $355 per day after nine days. Demurrage fees for refrigerated containers are higher.
Similar situations are taking place in some other important ports of the nation, such as Houston, Miami, and Savannah.

The ripple effects of port congestions are felt without delay in the economy:

  • Cargo delivery delays
  • Loss of overseas customers. Many domestics manufacturers and exporters cannot supply their customers on time and end up losing them.
  • Exorbitant costs of demurrage.
  • Heavy financial burden on many businesses, especially importers since they are forced to overstock with excess inventories to prevent running out of goods. As an example of this last problem one company, Nike, has reported spending $200 million annually to carry an extra 7 to 14 days of inventory because of the unreliable transportation caused by port congestion.

Here at Promptus, we are committed to following good practices to reduce situations that contribute to delays of the cargo at the port. Contact our team should your business need a reliable provider to help you navigate through the hurdles of these challenging times.

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Everything You Need to Know About IMO’s IMDG and IATA’s DGR

Learn the Importance of Properly Shipping Dangerous Goods

what-you need to know imo imdg and dgr

Working with dangerous goods can be – well, dangerous – so it is essential to adhere to specific rules and regulations to lessen the chance of accidents. When shipping hazardous materials, the risk can be higher, especially if the shippers and everybody involved in the supply chain do not follow proper packing and storing instructions. Governing organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Internal Maritime Organization (IMO) are responsible for overseeing and enforcing guidelines, codes, and ordinances that help to keep the crew, cargo, and transport vessels safe.

What is the IMDG Code?

To help reduce tragedies overseas IMO introduced the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. This code is an extension of the SOLAS treaty, whose current version was implemented in 1974. Officially known as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS is responsible for dealing with many aspects of maritime safety, including the correct handle and transport of dangerous goods.

Maritime officials adopted the IMDG code in 1965 and introduced them as recommendary, but not necessary, guidelines for transporting dangerous goods in packaged form. It wasn’t until 2002 that the IMO upgraded it to mandatory under the backing of the SOLAS convention.

The Code provides details relevant to all hazardous materials, including individual substances, elements, or articles. It also covers matters related to proper packaging, container stowage and traffic, and necessary guidelines on isolating incompatible materials.

HAZMAT Regulations and DGD Forms

Where IMO handles ocean transportation, IATA is responsible for air transportation, including import and export cargo. Part of their responsibilities includes setting the standards for transporting HAZMAT products, which is outlined in the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). For over 60 years, the international airline industry has accepted the regulations and instructions provided in this guide as the global standard for handling dangerous goods. The guide is regularly updated with relevant new information. The 60th edition, for example, released new changes to the DGR on January 1, 2019.

 You May Also Like: “Safety in the Sky: IATA’s #1 Priority 

Under these international regulations, the DGR requires shippers to fill out a specific form that states the cargo has been properly packed, labeled, and declared as per IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). This form, known as the DGD (dangerous goods declaration), enables shippers to identify all the details of the hazardous materials to ensure all parties handle it accordingly.

For your convenience, IATA allows shippers (or a Licensed Freight Forwarder) to electronically file the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods known as the e-DGD. This option also provides access to an electronic database that provides members of the shipping industry the ability to both digitalize and share their data using the platform.

What Do These Regulations Cover?

While the IMO and the IATA’s guidelines vary based on the different stipulations related to the sea and the air, respectively, the goal is ultimately the same: to help prevent any risks associated with the transport of dangerous cargo.

Here are some of the things they cover:

  • Training requirements
  • Classifications of hazardous materials
  • Handling instructions for crew members
  • Security provisions
  • Important codes, marking, and labels

Stay On Top of Important Regulations

While it is the personal responsibility of every member of the import/export industry to familiarize themselves with the corresponding codes according to their shipping needs, we understand some areas can be more complicated to understand than other. At Promptus LLC, we have over 15 years of experience working with air and ocean shipping services, and we work diligently to stay on top of new guidelines introduced by IATA and IMO.

Our team of Licensed Customs Brokers can help you go coordinate shipments involving dangerous materials to ensure all the necessary rules surrounding paperwork, packaging, and transport are successfully met. Contact us today to get a Free Quote for our freight forwarding services!

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SOLAS, IMO, and Other Important Maritime Acronyms

Learn About the Organizations Improving Safety At Sea

solas IMO and other maritime acronyms

When it comes to regulating and governing the thousands of cargo ships that are travelling the world’s waterways on a daily basis it can’t be the responsibility of any one government but of all governments interested in a well-functioning mechanism to secure standardization, consistency and proper guidelines to protect the shipping industry and most importantly the lives of those of at sea.

Of that thought the IMO has created treaties, committees, and an organization formed over the years with the dedicated responsibility of ensuring the safety of those at sea.

Brief History of SOLAS and Maritime Safety

The SOLAS Convention (also known as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea), is regarded as one of the most important treaties to be signed in to maritime law for the protection of merchant ships. The very first iteration of the SOLAS treaty was adopted following the Titanic tragedy, in 1914. The version used today, sometimes stylized as SOLAS 74, has seen many amendments and changes over the years, and as new provisions are introduced, new addendums are made.

Operating under the IMO, or the International Maritime Organization, SOLAS determines the minimum standards of safety that must be followed for the construction, maintenance, and operation of merchant ships. These regulations are enforced by the various Flag States, under which certain ships are assigned. These Flag States must ensure that their merchant’s vessels are compliant with the minimum required standards to ensure the safety of the boat, its crew, and any passengers. Certificates are distributed via the Convention to act as proof that the necessary authorities have inspected the ship and deemed it acceptable for transport.

How Does the IMO Work?

The development of international regulations has proven to be the best way to manage a large number of maritime vessels transporting both goods and people across the seas. Starting sometime in the 1900s, various countries around the world began drawing up treaties to help introduce better maritime practices and ensure safety for everyone involved. Shortly after the induction of the United Nations, a conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1948.

The first version of IMO was then born, under the name Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO). In 1958, the UN adopted the IMO convention we know today (the name changes finally came in 1982) and the organization began meeting the following year. By this time, treaties like SOLAS were already in place, but the IMO set out to update them to better reflect the changes of the decade. That was their first order of business, and SOLAS, 1960, was introduced.

Over the next few years following the introductions of SOLAS, the IMO set out to establish a number of standards, most of which remain active today. To ensure all parties followed these standards, certain committees and sub-committees were formed with specific responsibilities. These committees are responsible for policy-making, for example. Their respective titles describe each Committee’s area of focus, as follows:

  • Facilitation Committee (FAL)
  • Legal Committee (LEG)
  • Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
  • Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)
  • Technical Co-operation Committee (TC)

The seven consequent Sub-Committees help to support the efforts of these main Committees, and they act under the direct command of the MSC and MEPC. Like the other Committees, their work is designated by their respective titles.

IMO Sub-Committees

Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)

Maritime safety is about much more than ensuring the security of cargo moving overseas. It is about ensuring proper construction of merchant transport vessels, helping to reduce pollution, crime, and even facilitating traffic on the seas. Their slogan, “Safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans,” helps to highlight the IMO’s goals. The sub-committees directed by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) work to help uphold those goals. Here is a brief breakdown of each Sub-Committee and how they contribute to the IMO.

Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC)

The primary responsibility of the CCC, as the name suggests, is to help regulate the type of cargo containers. In specific, they help to implement codes, as well as survey and certify that everyone is following regulations surrounding cargo operations and carriages. This can include things like the transportation of packaged dangerous goods, bulk gas cargoes, solid bulk cargoes within containers. The CCC also helps to evaluate any hazards related to pollution or environmental concerns and helps to ensure all parties are in cooperation with the UN, and any other important agencies, like IGOs and NGOs.

Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW)

Self-explanatory enough, this sub-committee is responsible for the “human side of things”, which can include training and certification of any persons that may need it. The HTW also provides guidance with issues like fatigue or illness, and update and revise IMO model courses.

Implementation of IMO Instruments (III)

The III is tasked with matters related to IMO treaty instruments, many of which include the Flag States. For example, they III must review the rights and responsibilities of the Flag States, assess and review the current level of implementation for various IMO instructions by the States, and be able to identify any reasons why there may be difficulties, if any, implementing provisions of current or new IMO instruments.

Navigation, Radio-communication and Search & Rescue (NCSR)

The NCSR works in liaison with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding maritime and aeronautical radiocommunication and search & rescue matters. They also deal with all Government obligation related to the safety of navigation, carriage requirements and performance standards for shipborne navigation equipment, and operational protocols. Some of which are regarding dangerous situations, collisions and grounding, voyage planning, and measures recommended for the international maritime search and rescue operations.

Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR)

As you can imagine, this Sub-Committee is in charge of implementing regulations that help to prevent and reduce pollution of marine environments. This pollution can be related to ships or other vessels, hazardous materials, or harmful aquatic organisms, the latter of which can get into ballast water and sediments and cause damage. The PPR is also responsible for environmentally safe recycling procedures, such as with ships and containers.

Ship Design and Construction (SDC)

The SDC, formerly known as DE, FP, and SLF, helps to enforce all matters regarding, as the name states, the design and construction of maritime vessels, including materials, measurement matters, certifications, and load lines. This Sub-Committee also helps to ensure the safety of fishermen and their ships.

Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE)

Like the SDC, the SSE focuses on ship-related matters, in this case, the systems and equipment of the vessels. This can include things like machinery, electrical equipment installations, and the testing (and approval) of new systems. The SSE also implements life-saving appliances, as well as takes regular analyses of incident and casualties related to a ship’s system or equipment.

Stay Well-Informed on Maritime Matters

The work of the IMO and the UN is extremely important to anyone who works with ocean shipping, but it isn’t always the easiest to comprehend. With over 15 years of experience with global logistics, Promptus LLC can help you understand exactly what all the important PGAs and Alphabet Agencies do and which you should familiarize yourself with. Getting a Licensed Customs Broker on board can also help to ensure you don’t forget any important documentation that might get you in hot water with the IMO, resulting in additional fees or penalties. Contact us at 305-687-1405 today to get a quote for our services!

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How is Oversized Cargo Transported Overseas?

Extra Large Shipment? Learn About Your Ocean Transport Options

how is oversized cargo transported overseas

Do you have a large amount of cargo that you need to ship internationally? Are you having trouble finding options to transport your merchandise? Promptus, LLC is here to assist. Instead of worrying about the logistics of exporting your goods and wondering whether it is too large or will incur additional fees, trust in our professionals. We offer freight forwarding services to help you coordinate shipments both big and small, which leaves you free to take care of business.

First, let’s define what exactly is considered oversized, heavy cargo.

How To Tell If Your Shipment Is Oversized

Generally, oversized cargo has a different definition based on the mode of transportation you are using. For over-the-road trucking, oversized goods are defined as any load whose dimensions exceed 8.5 ft in width and 13.5-14.5 ft in length, however for ocean transportation any piece of cargo that does not fit in one 40’ or 45’ container is considered oversized.

The weight of the cargo, on the other hand, does not have strict parameters that specify whether it is considered “heavy” or not. However, when organizing the transport of cargo by land or sea, there are limits on how much weight a particular equipment can carry. Countries and states can also dictate weight limits.

How Heavy Cargo Gets Transported

Every day thousands of oversized and heavy pieces of cargo are transported via land and sea worldwide. But exactly how do they make it overseas? How does the Megabus from Germany make its way to highways in the United States? Or how does the giant dump truck made in Peoria, Illinois end up in the mines of Peru?

Using specialized equipment and vessels that have become useful when moving oversized goods, companies can transport items virtually anywhere there is an applicable port.

Roll On/Roll Off Carriers

These carriers are the best option when it comes to the transportation of large cargo shipments. The below deck warehouse featured on the ‘roll on/roll off’ carriers is favorite among transporting motor vehicles like dump trucks, back and front loaders, motorhomes, buses, and other similar large automobiles. This is because this option offers ease of access, unlike other transportation options. Typically, these vehicles are driven straight into the hull of the vessel, where workers secure them for travel.

Other types of cargo – for example, items that can’t be driven or propelled – are loaded onto the roll on/roll off carriers using a MAFI trailer, which is a rolling platform that can be towed or pushed by a tractor. Using the MAFI, the cargo can be loaded on an off the ship quickly.

Flat Rack

The flat rack is another tool that logistics companies use to load oversized cargo onto a vessel. It is, as the name describes a flat surface without any walls or roof, which allows the necessary flexibility required to move goods that have a height or width that extends beyond conventional container capacities. These flat racks can be driven directly into the hull of the vessel, as well.

Load-on Lift-off (LOLO)

Not all heavy and oversized cargo is shipped using roll on/roll off vessels, some freight is even too large to fit on these, or the cost of accommodating them is just too high. That doesn’t mean there is no way to transport them, but rather than you must use a different method. Typically, cargo that is too large for even the roll on/roll off vessels can be loaded using the LOLO method. The term refers to ships with onboard cranes that are used to, quite literally, lift the cargo from the holding area and load it onto the vessel’s deck.

Need A Hand? Promptus Can Help

It can be difficult to arrange a shipment that has oversized cargo. If you don’t find the best shipping method, you may end up spending an exponential amount on transportation – or worse, on fees. Instead, trust the experts. Our team of freight forwarders has over 15 years of experience that can help you import or export your items internationally. We also offer Customs Brokerage to assure all of your paperwork and documentation is accurate before shipping it off. For help navigating massive shipments, contact us today to receive a Free Quote!

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Do You Know How Your Cargo Moves Overseas?

Learn More About The Movements of Your Liner Shipping Containers During Transit

A liner ship, if you are unfamiliar with the term, refers to a cargo ship that has the capability of transporting warehouses (yes, plural!) of merchandise. The goal is to maximize efficiency when transporting goods by using one ship for a myriad of companies. Currently, there are over 6,000 containerships in play, with about 400 companies offering liner services around the world. Many of these ships were built in 1980 and will travel the distance from earth to the moon practically ten times! That’s nearly 2 million miles!

The Breakdown of a Liner Cargo Ship

Liner shipping focuses primarily on high-capacity ships that operate via fixed routes and schedules. These sea-based ships carry about 60% of all goods moved internationally every year. Most of them are outfitted to securely accommodate commonly used 20-foot and 40-foot, plus 45-foot and 48-foot containers. Some ships fit freight containers up to 53-feet long.

 You May Also Like: “Do You Know The Right Marine Freight Container For Your Shipping Needs?” 

These enormous ships have only gotten bigger over the last 50 years. In that time, they have gone from carrying just 1,500 TEU to carrying over 12,000 TEU today. The picture below depicts the 1,200% capacity growth since 1968.

Some of the biggest container ships in the world today are a whopping 1,300 feet long and 180 feet wide! In addition to being outfitted to carry more goods in one trip, including shipments from different companies, they are more fuel efficient! In fact, a recent study by Lloyd’s Register discovered that, in 23 years (from 1985 to 2008), fuel efficiency increase by 35%.

How Linear Shipping Works

Think about the fixed schedule of a train route or a bus line. This system is very similar to the regular service scheduled on liner containerships. Ultimately, the concept of shipping is simple: the manufacturer sends the goods over via a transit system – in this case, ocean shipping – and they travel on a designated route until they arrive at the destination port. But actually, there is so much more to the transit story of how your favorite pair of shoes makes it way to your local retailer.

So what really happens from beginning to end throughout the overseas shipping itinerary? This step-by-step guide illustrates each stage of transport:

  1. You, the consumer, has demanded an increase in the latest style of tennis shoe. In response, your local retailer places an order from the manufacturer in China. They arrange a shipment of 500 brand new tennis shoes to be brought over via a freight forwarder.
  2. As per the instruction of the freight forwarder, a trucking company will arrive at the Chinese factory. Here, they load up the order of 500 new shoes, along with any other orders placed by other retailers. They are loaded into the freight containers and sealed with heavy duty locks.
  3. The freight forwarding company directs the trucking to delivery the container to a port in China, where workers load it onto a shipping line. Here, transport documents will be requested by the government to ensure everything is legitimate.
  4. Once safely loaded on the container ship, the cargo heads towards its destination port. Upon arrival, the vessel will present the necessary information to receive clearance to dock. Once it has arrived, dock workers will assist with unloading the containers that have the shoes.
  5. If Customs selects the cargo for inspection, it will open and thoroughly check it to ensure nothing is wrong. Once cleared, they will load it onto the next mode of transport, usually a trailer truck. Now the tennis shoes have officially arrived in the country and are on their way to you.
  6. The container with the shoes arrives at an import distribution center, typically located nearby, where the cargo will be unloaded and prepared. Once they are good to go, the 500 brand new tennis shoes will arrive at the retailer.

How Your Cargo Moves Is Important

At Promptus LLC, we offer full-scale logistics services that will help you every step of the way. Our team of air & ocean freight forwarders can help transport your merchandise worldwide, even if it is a multimodal shipment. We are C-TPAT certified and have a number of resources available to help with international import/export services. Call us at 1-877-776-6799 to get a Free Quote today!

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Do You Know The Right Marine Freight Container For Your Shipping Needs?

Discover the Recommended Uses of Common Standardized Shipping Containers

right marine freight container

The trade industry is responsible for providing us with an incredibly valuable service: shipping and delivery. All over the world, import and export services allow for international trade and distribution of merchandise and goods ranging everywhere from high-end luxuries to everyday necessities.

But, how exactly can that be achieved with all the different customs and languages that may be encountered? How can a shipping company in the US be sure that their containers can be received at a port in China?

Standardized Shipping Sizes

In the 1960s, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was created with the sole purpose of creating consistent sizes that can be used internationally. They provide specifications for things such as intermodal shipping containers, which visit many different countries in their lifetime. Known as the Incoterms, it helps reduces confusion amongst importer/exporters, distributors, manufacturers, and transport companies. In the guide below, we will explore the various standardized shipping containers mostly commonly used in the international trade industry.

Please keep in mind that there is an incredibly wide variety of containers used in marine transportation and, while their specifications are virtually standardized worldwide, the possibility exists that individual container manufacturers and shipping lines may offer specifications that vary slightly from those we will be covering.

General Sizing Information

As specified by the ISO 668, the following image lists the standardized specifications for the various sizes of shipping containers that can be used by marine freight import/export companies. It works in conjunction with ISO 1496, which specifies the internal dimensions and door openings for General Purpose Containers.

The following list touches on the various types of freight containers that can be used for international marine trade and shipping. When planning your ocean shipping services, it is important to select the correct container for your needs. Need help? Promptus LLC can offer their expertise to help simplify international shipping.

General Purpose Container

The general purpose container is suitable for general cargo, as the name describes, and can be used to house a variety of goods. The container comes in two standardized sizes: 20’ and 40’. They are both 8’ 6” tall and can be defined by ISO size type 22G0 & 22G1 and 42G0 & 42G1, respectively. In addition, these containers offer the following features:

  • Can be lined with bag ideal for bulk cargo, such as malt. (20’ only)
  • Features forklift pockets on many available containers.
  • Multiple lashing devices with an allowable load of 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) on the top and the bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts.

High Cube General Purpose Container

Similar to the above general purpose container, this particular transport device is slightly taller at 9’ 6” and comes in two standardized sizes: 40’ and 45’. The ISO size types for these containers are 45G0 & 45G1 and L5G0 & L5G1, respectively. Additionally, these containers offer the following features:

  • Idea for light, capacious cargo
  • Ideal for over-height cargo reaching a maximum height of 8’ 10 ¼” (2.70m)
  • Multiple lashing devices with an allowable load of 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) on the top and the bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts.
  • Recommended for inland transportation.

Hardtop Container

As the name describes, this transport container has a reinforced top. It is available in two different lengths: 20’ and 40’. Both sizes are 8’ 6” tall. The 20’ and 40’ sizes are defined in the ISO size types 22U6 and 42U6, respectively. These containers have the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for heavy loads, especially cargo that is excessively high, and top loading cargo – accessible through the roof opening and door sides.
  • Steel roof with rings so they can be removed easily with a forklift.
  • In the event of over-height cargo, the roof sections offer the option to lash to the sidewall, taking up only 13cm of space.
  • Disposable tarpaulins can be fastened to the exterior walls using lashing devices.
  • Forklifts with a front axle not exceeding 16,000lbs (7,280 kg) can be used inside the container.
  • A variety of lashing devices can be used in conjunction with the hardtop container, such as on the corner posts and horizontal (lengthwise) roof and floor rails (holds up to 4,410 lbs or 2,000kg) or the middle of the side walls (holds up to 1,100 lbs or 500 kg).
  • The 40’ container is recommended for use of goods that do not comfortably fit in the 20’ container.

High Cube Hardtop Container

This is the High Cube version of the Hardtop Containers described above. Essentially, this container is recommended for taller loads that require a reinforced top. The high cube container is 9’ 6” tall and is available in a 40’ model.

This model is recommended for all the same uses as the above-referenced Hardtop Container, though it is used when the cargo is excessively high and will not comfortably fit in the 8-foot-tall model. In addition to those recommendations and features, this model also offers:

  • An expandable roof that can be raised up to 2¾” (70 mm) using roof-locking devices. This allows the door-header to be swung open without having to remove the roof.

Open Top Container

Again, as the name describes, this container opens from the top, allowing for easier loading and accommodating of certain cargos. The container is 8 ‘ 6” high and is available in two sizes: 20’ and 40’ long. The ISO size types for these containers can be found in 22U1 and 42UI, respectively. These containers are recommended for the following uses and offer the following features:

  • Ideal for cargo that is overheight, or cargo that needs to be loaded top side or door side, usually using a crane or forklift.
  • The door header can be swung open, allowing for easier loading and unloading.
  • Disposable tarpaulins can be fastening on the exterior walls using lashing bars. One-way tarpaulins will require access to the corner castings.
  • Forklift pockets on many available containers.
  • All open top containers allow capacity for forklift trucks, exceeding the ISO standard by 33%.
  • Lashing devices are located on the top and bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts. These devices hold up to 2,205 lbs (1,000 kg) each.


Unlike the others we have covered in this guide, this shipping device is the only “container” that is completely open. It is outfitted with a reinforced bottom and two fixed walls at either end. The flat rack is available in a 20’ option that reaches 8‘ 6” tall. The ISO size type for this rack is 22P3 and 22P8. In addition to its open-side design, this shipping container offers the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for exceptionally heavy and overwidth goods and cargo.
  • Many brands include forklift pockets for increased portability.
  • Durable lashing devices included on the corner posts, longitudinal rails, and on the floor of the flat. The rails that run lengthwise can withstand up to 4,410 lbs (2,000kg) or 8,820 lbs (4,000kg), respectively.
  • Must be used for payloads that can be distributed over the total floor area, as a heavy load concentrated in one particular area can cause an imbalance.
  • Flats are typically delivered without stanchions or support poles, but they can be requested with an authorized representative or distributor.

High Cube Flat

This is the high cube version of the flat rack described above. The high cube flat’s end walls reach 9’ 6” tall and it is currently available in a 40’ model.

This option is suitable for all the same needs as the above-referenced flat, though it is recommended for use when cargo is excessively high and needs to be stacked higher than allowed with the 8’ model. In addition to those recommendations and features, this model also offers:

  • A gooseneck tunnel on either end.


Similar to the flat rack, this shipping device features a reinforced bottom, however, this model has no surrounding side or end walls. Platform containers are best suited to transport awkward cargo that cannot be comfortably enclosed in other container devices like an open top or flat rack. The platform is available is a 20’ and 40’ model and the ISO size type can be found at 29P0 and 49P0, respectively. This shipping “container” offers the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for heavy loads and oversized cargoes.
  • 40-foot platforms have a gooseneck tunnel on either end.
  • Many brands offer reinforced lashing devices on the longitudinal rails, which can withstand weights up to 6,615 lbs (3,000 kg) each.
  • Heavy loads can be concentrated in smaller load transfer areas.

Ventilated Container

This is a specialty container, intended for a specific use: to house cargo that requires ventilation during transport. This container is 8’ 6” tall and is available in two standard sizes: 20’ and 40’. The ISO size type for these containers is outlined in 22V0 and 42V0, respectively. These shipping containers offer the following uses and features:

  • Natural ventilation by way of opening running lengthwise across the top and bottom rails. A labyrinth construction prevents damage against weather damage.
  • Lashing devices that can withstand up to 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) each throughout both the top and bottom longitudinal rails as well as the corner posts.

Insulated Container

This container is essentially the opposite of the above-mentioned shipping device and is intended for use with cargo that needs to maintain a constant temperature. The insulated shipping containers are 8’ 6” tall and can be found in two standard sizes: 20’ and 40’. The ISO size type for these containers is 20H0 and 40H0, respectively. These insulated containers offer the following uses and features:

  • Side and end walls feature a “sandwich-construction” using polyurethane foam to maintain temperatures and insulation.
  • Temperature is accurately maintained through two apertures in the front wall. Supply air is fed to the lower opening and return air via the upper opening.
  • Maximum stowage to maintain proper ventilation is clearly indicated by a visible red line within the container.
  • The 20’ container can maintain cargo at temperatures between 54˚F (12˚C) to -14˚F (-25˚C), below or above freezing, as necessary.
  • The 40’ container can maintain cargo at temperatures between 57˚F (13˚C) to -8˚F (-22˚C).

Bulk Container

This container has a similar concept to an open top container, except it uses manholes at the top to load cargo. It is used exclusively to transport dry bulk cargo, such as malt or grain. The containers are available in 20’ sizes and reach 8’ 6” high. The ISO size type is 22B0. Bulk containers offer the following features and recommendations:

  • Three convenient manholes sized 18” (455mm) and located 6’ apart that can be used for top loading.
  • A discharge opening sized 13.5” x 15” (340 x 380mm) in each door wing.
  • A liner bag can be fastened to the interior when necessary.
  • Forklift pockets in most models.
  • Lashing devices available on the top rails running horizontally.

Refrigerated Container

While different than insulated containers, these refrigerated shipping containers can also be used for cargo that needs to maintain a particular temperature. This shipping device is available in a 20’ model that stands 8’ 6” tall. The ISO size type is defined under 22R1 and 22R9. These temperature-controlled containers offer the following features and recommendations:

  • ATO-approved containers that can have controlled fresh-air supply upon request.
  • “Sandwich-construction” on the interior wall using polyurethane foam to ensure temperatures and insulation.
  • A reefer unit with a compact-design compressor unit that features an air-cooled condenser. It can switch from cooling to heating automatically as necessary based on exterior temperatures.
  • A visible red line indicates the maximum stowage allowed to ensure proper ventilation is maintained.
  • Can withstand technical and electric voltages ranging between 380 V/50 Hz to 460 V/60 Hz and 200 V/50 Hz to 220 V/60 Hz.
  • Can be maintained at temperatures between 77˚F (25˚C) to -13˚F (-25˚C) as long as the difference in temperature between the interior and exterior does not exceed 76˚F (42˚C) for heating and 117˚F (65˚) for cooling.

The tank containers are strange-looking contraptions that are used exclusively for certain gases, oils, and liquids, such as chemical products or even food items. For example, flammables, corrosives, or toxic substances can be transported safely with a tank container. They are available in 20’ sizes and can be found in two heights: 8’, outlined in the ISO type code 20T5, and 8’ 6”, outlined in ISO code 22T5 and 22T6. In addition to their specific use, these containers have the following features and recommended uses:

  • Tanks cannot be less than 80% full, nor can they be filled to 100% of their capacity. Maintaining 85%-95% capacity can help to prevent dangerous surges or swells during the transport process.
  • In some cases, products considered toxic or dangerous must be carried in containers that have no openings below the surface level of the liquid to ensure safe transport.
  • Residue tariffs may apply for the cleaning and/or disposal of tank containers unless exempted based on a predetermined rule.


This shipping container is really a combination of a standard 20′ ISO ocean shipping container fitted with a flexible plastic “bladder” on the inside that can be used to store and transport bulk liquids. It can be used to house/transport food items such as flat beer, olive oil, sauces, wine, fruit juice concentrate, and more. It can also be used to house/transport industrial cargo such as adhesives, biodiesel, glue, oils, emulsions, and more. Here are some the advantages, recommendations, and features of the flexitank shipping container:

  • A “one-way cost system” that uses disposable bladders, which helps keep the cost of use and maintenance low.
  • Higher storage and transport capacity compared to rigid tanks.
  • Reduces transport costs thanks to lower tare weights, decreased labor costs, and reduced packaging costs as compared to drums, bottles, or traditional tanks.
  • Can hold capacities ranging from 3,170 to 6,340 US gallons (12,000 to 24,000 liters).
  • Heating pads are available to make discharging certain liquids (like oils) easier.
  • Various different materials can be used to manufacture flexitanks, which allows them to handle a variety of cargo, including food grade and industrial goods.
  • Has an easily accessible infill and discharge valve for easy loading and unloading.

Make the Decisions the Best Suits You

Still having trouble figuring out which shipping container is the best for your cargo? Promptus LLC is here to help! We have a number of highly trained Licensed Customs Brokers on staff as well as a number of other freight forwarding services available. Contact the experts today to get a free quote for all your global logistics needs!

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Are You Filing an ISF For Your US Bound Cargo?

What Information is Required to File Other Than IE & TE Shipments

filing an isf for US cargo

Will you be importing goods via ocean shipping into the United States? Then you will need to file what is commonly referred to as the “10+2” initiative. The Importer Security Filing (ISP) is a regulation enforced by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that states importers and vessel carriers need to provide electronic data to the CBP for all ocean imports. This is not the same as the CBP bond that is required for all in-bound shipments.

What You Need to File an ISF for US Bound Cargo (Aside from IE & T&E Shipments)

It is the responsibility of the importer, whether through a customs broker or directly, to file an ISP for ocean cargo going through the US Customs and Border Protection. This list excludes immediate exportation (IE) and transportation and exportation (T&E). You must submit your ISF files at least 24 hours prior to the cargo being loaded onto the ship’s vessel, or you risk incurring hefty fees or a denial of your ISF.

You will need the names and addresses, along with any other requested information of the following:

  • Your manufacturer or supplier. This is the entity or entities that produce(s) your goods either in parts or as a finished product. Alternatively, you can provide the name and address of the supplier/producer/manufacturer to create or locate the manufacturer identification (MID).
  • The seller’s information.
  • The buyer information.
  • The physical recipient of the goods.
  • Container where the goods were stuffed and from where they will be shipped.
  • The consolidator who coordinated the packaging of the goods.
  • Importer of record number/FTZ applicant identification number. If you are going to ship goods to an FTZ, you will need to provide the IRS number, SSN, EIN, or CBP assigned number of the party filing the documentation with CBP. The importer of record number for Importer Security Filing purposes is the same as importer number on CBP Form 3461.
  • Consignee number(s). The CBP assigned number, EIN, IRS number, and SSN of the parties on whose account the merchandise is shipped will be required to file your ISF.
  • Country of origin. The country of where the goods being imported were manufactured or produced.
  • Commodity HTSUS number. You will need to provide the duty/statistical reporting number for the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The HTSUS number is required to between six-digits and ten-digits. If it is between ten digits, this number can only be used for entry purposes.

Bill of Lading Number

Along with the 10 ISF filing requirements, you will also need the lowest level bill of lading number given by the freight forwarder is necessary to attribute the ISF to the manifest data and entry of your goods being imported.

Stay Informed of All Import Requirements

Promptus LLC has been dedicated to helping assisting clients with ocean shipping and consolidation cargo. We are a licensed Container Freight Station (CFS) available to help importers worldwide with expert global logistics services.

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