Container Yard

Container Yard: The Ultimate FAQGuide

In this guide, you will find all information you’re looking for about container yards.

From basic definition, functions, classification to ownership, among other critical aspects.

So, if you want to learn more about container yards, read this guide.

What is Container Yard in Shipping?

 Container Yard

Container Yard

Container Yard refers to a place specially designated for the storage of containers before loading or offloading from a ship.

Also referred to as a container depot, CY provides the space for aligning containers ready for loading onto a ship.

You can also use it to store all the containers being offloaded from the ship.

You keep the cargo until it’s time to shift them either to the rail yard, Container Freight Station, or delivering to the consignee.

Where is Container Yard Situated?

The location of container yard must be a very convenient place for business.

The best location of a container depot is normally near the terminals to reduce movement to and from the terminal.

You can also choose container yard located closer to the port and the hinterlands commonly known as inland container depot (ICD).

What are the Functions and Uses of a Container Yard?

Container depot has many uses all of which ensure that there is smooth flow of trade among various ports and countries.

Among their functions is the storage of empty containers after unloading them at the warehouse of the receiver.

It would be expected that every shipping company should have its container yard.

However, this was seen to cause congestion in the areas surrounding the port.

As such, there came the concept of private entities and ports to offer storage services at minimal charges.

Some of the large shipping lines however have their secured storage facilities.

The main benefit of having a private container yard is the ability to have easy cargo movement from one port/depot to another.

It helps you avoid the storage issues as well as bottlenecks which may be as a result of improper planning.

Other auxiliary functions of container yards include:

  • Repair services
  • Maintenance services
  • Security/Protection Services
  • Cleaning services
  • Transportation services
  • Fumigations services among others

Organisms or moulds can enter and start breeding inside the containers especially when you leave them still for some time.

To prevent this from happening, Container yards will clean and fumigate containers regularly.

Lashing may come loose when containers are in transit and this can lead to damage of goods inside the container.

Container yards will undertake the duties of repairing and maintaining the damaged or broken containers.

The damages may range from small dents to even major overhauls.

Reefer containers require regular maintenance of the cooling systems to avoid any short-circuiting risks during transit.

Shipping container yards come in handy for shoppers who are able to get such services within the yard.

Another useful service is short-distance free transport services.

Container yards can give incentives such as transport from the container yard to other pick-up locations.

These services may attract charges if you hire a Logistics Company.

But with container yards, you will be able to save the extra cost.

What is the Layout and Design of CY?

The construction of container yards employs a standard layout in order to offer security as well as enough storage space.

Offering security to large units can sometimes be challenging, thus proper measures must be put when setting a container yard.

The container yard design must consider the use of pilfering machinery for containers like the cooling systems for reefer containers.

They must ensure easy detection of trafficking of illicit goods using the containers.

The entry and exit points should have a large boundary wall with round-the-clock security.

They should also have facilities and equipment to test for any traces of drugs and other substances for empty containers.

Container yards should also feature larger spreader cranes or straddle carriers.

These help in piling of containers high in the air.

They are very useful in lifting containers and stacking based on their entry and departure times.

Some yards also stack containers by the company they belong to.

Therefore, there may be a separate region for each company.

The allocation of size and location of this region is often through bidding.

Proper arrangement of containers is key in reducing the turnaround time.

Large container yards should also have an in-house rail for sending and bringing containers.

Some yards can also have a customs office that oversees the unloading and loading of containers as well as performs a regular inspections.

How Does a Container Yard Work?

A container yard receives containers from the client or agent and stores them waiting for delivery or shipping.

At the entrance, your containers must be inspected before being given entry.

Some yards can offer maintenance and other services for the time the container will be held inside.

Once all the plans to move it are in place, the yard then releases the container.

However, there must be proper checks to make sure that only the authorized container moves out.

What is Inland Container Depot (ICD)?

Inland container Deport is a dry port well equipped to handle temporary storage containers with cargo as well as empty containers.

This helps hinterland customers in receiving all the port services closer to their premises and in a more convenient manner.

Their main purpose is to help customers enjoy the benefits that come along with containerization.

What is the Difference Between Inland Container Yard and Container Freight Station?

It can sometimes bedifficult to distinguish between Inland Container Depot and Container Freight Station.

This is because both of them serve as points of consolidation.

In many instances, you will find Container Freight Stationlocated closer to the port of entry.

It helps in storing any cargo that cannotfill a container as they wait arrival for more cargo tofill the container.

This is to say that it mostly deals with Less than Container Load (LCL) cargo.

CFS greatly helps in reducing congestion at the ports, and they feature rail and road connections.

Conversely, the location of Inland Container Depot (ICD) is on hinterlands, a distance from the ports that they serve.

ICDs will mainly serve the Full Container Load (FCL) and also have rail and road transport connections.

Although closely associated with ports, Inland Container Depot acts as a separate entity with the same authority as any other customs station.

 Container Yard Rails

Container Yard Rails

What is the Difference between ICD and CY?

An ICD is like a seaport though its location is away from the actual seaport.

It helps in bringing port services closer to importers and exporters.

You can be able to import, export as well as pay for all the customs duties at the Inland Container Depot.

On the contrary, a container yard is commonly close to the seaport.

Is where you store all the cargo offloaded or to be loaded onto the ship.

It is permissible to store the goods until it is time to move them to the consignee or the ship.

Who Owns Container Yards?

Container yards may be owned by states, private-public or private entities.

For example, in North America and Europe, different parties have assumed ownership of rail companies, port operations as well as shipping companies.

The state owns most of the container yards in China, Asia, and India.

Container yards in India are under the management of the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR).

The private sector owns the majority of Inland Container Depots in Africa.

What does CY Cutoff Mean?

CY cutoff refers to the set date on which a given container will be checked-in (gated-in) in the container yard.

The checking in is to prepare the consignment for its sailing schedule.

What does CY/CY Indicate on a Bill of Lading?

CY/CY is a shipping term used to mean “container yard to container yard” when dealing with international shipping.

It means that the carrier will accept the goods once they get to the container yard located at the port of lading.

They will then deliver the goods to another container yard located within the discharge terminal/port.

What does CFS/CY mean on a BOL?

The CFS/CY is read as ‘CFS to CY’.

It is a container service used in shipping to mean port-to-door container service.

Simply, it implies that when delivering the loose cargo to carrier’s container freight station, it will be packed into a whole container.

The carrier will then deliver the whole container to the premises of the consignee.

What does CY/CFS mean on a BOL Document?

The CY/CFS is read as ‘CY to CFS’.

It is a container service used to mean door-to-port container service.

Once the whole container gets to the carrier, it will be packed at the premises of the forwarder or the shipper.

This whole container will then be emptied at the freight station of the carrier at the port of destination.

It is the responsibility of the consignee to organize for transportation of the loose cargo to their premises from the container freight station.

What are the Implications of Using CY/CY Terms on a Bill of Lading?

CY/CY has two major significant effects statements on the bill of lading.

They are:

Unstuffing and Stuffing Responsibility

When a carrier declares CY/CY term, they will be certifying that unstuffing and stuffing of the container will be under the shipper.

Also, any responsibility relating to the wrong stowage of containers will belong to the consignee.

For that matter, the insurance may not handle any claims relating to such a loss.

Delivery Place

If the carrier declares CY/CY on the bill of lading, the shipper will deliver goods to your designated destination based on chosen incoterm.

How are Container Yard Activities Managed?

The management of a yard has very significant effects on a port’s competitiveness on the shipping network globally.

Once a ship arrives at the port, the manned quay cranes will offload the containers from the ship.

The quay cranes will then transfer the containers from the ship to vehicles like Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

These vehicles normally travel between the ship and the stack.

They help in dropping the containers at the storage point where you can keep them for some time.

From there, cranes pick the containers from the stack.

The AGV will then transport them to their respective modes of transport, which can be trains, trucks, barges, deep-sea ships, etc.

Loading containers for export onto a ship is one process executed in reverse order.

Which Types of Containers can be Stored in a Container Yard?

There are no restrictions on the type of containers that container depots can accept.

You can store all the containers from or heading to the ship.

However, there is a thorough check and clearance of the containers for the next shipment stage.

How Much do Container Yard Services Cost?

Container Yards normally offer free services.

This is so to give importers and exporters time to organize their logistics.

How Long Can a Shipping Container Stay in CY?

Normally the container yard is a place to store the containers for a short period of time awaiting clearance.

The container yards offer free service during this time, normally 3 to 7 days.

The duration gives you time to organize for the collection of your cargo.

The goods can remain in the container depot until it is time to transfer them to the final destination.

However, the container yard can recover its dues through an auction if the container owner cannot take the cargo due to financial challenges.

This can take around 30 days of non-commitment.

Do I Need to Pay for Insurance on Shipments in a CY?

Normally you won’t need to pay for extra insurance for your goods.

This is because normally, the cargo insurance covers them until their final destination.

How Secure are Container Yards?

Container yards are very secure.

They have monitoring equipment all round the clock.

Any entry into the container yard is thoroughly checked.

Whenever there is a departure, proper checks must be conducted to ensure only authorized persons leave with approved cargo.

There are seals and tracking devices to ensure that all goods are safe within the container yard.

Broken seals are an indication of a container that has been tampered with.

Most CY has CCTV cameras installed around to monitor activities going on.

Moreover, well-trained guards control the gates to ensure that only authorized entry and exit takes place.

Are there Restrictions on Containers Arriving and Departing CY?

Container yards have restrictions on the containers that may get in or leave.

Containers carrying illicit goods can never be allowed inside a container yard.

Other cargos that may be denied entry into a container yard are:

  • Any cargo that may be carrying dangerous goods or substances unless they are stored in a properly designed DG block.
  • Any container carrying explosives without approval

What are the Operational Hours of Container Yards?

Container yards operate from 8 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Friday.

They open from 8 Am to 12 Pm on Saturdays and are normally closed during the weekends.

How are Containers Delivered to CY?

How you intend to use your container will greatly determine the best delivery option to choose for your container.

You may need to consult your container vendor or agent for advice.

Below are the delivery options that you can choose from:


This is the most popular option for delivering your container.

You can transport either with a tractor-trailer combo or a straight truck.

The trailer will be driven back to the exact place you need your container stored.

This is because once you place the trailer, you may not have the ability to move it again.

The trailer then tips down and a winch will be lowered at the end of the container until it reaches the ground.

The truck will then pull to the front with the winch lowering the other end of the container.

Pros: Once your container arrives, it is slid down exactly where you need it on the ground.

Cons: This method is very expensive compared to other methods.

Although the trucks can easily lift a lightly loaded 20’ container, it may not be possible to do so with a 40’ loaded container.

Flat-Bed Delivery

Trucks that have a long flatbed are able to hold either two 20’ containers or a single 40’ container.

They will use a crane or forklift to lift your container and set it on the truck as the journey starts.

The system will then lift the container off after it arrives at your site.

Pros: Flatbed delivery may prove to be an alternative low-cost method.

This is because your container will be loaded onto a truck that will also carry other cargo.

This is especially key when you are shipping the cargo over a long distance.

Cons: You must ensure that you have equipment for loading and unloading your container.

Chassis Delivery

Chassis is a metal frame that has wheels well designed for carrying containers in a secure manner.

A trailer pulls the chassis.

Shipping lines tend to use chassis together with special forklifts to deliver containers to their customers for offloading as well as loading.

Pros: It is a cheaper way to transport your container.

The truck will easily disconnect from the chassis.

This will give you some more flexibility in case you need more loading time and do not want to keep the driver waiting.

In some cases, this is the only means of delivery that is acceptable to rail lines or ports.

Cons: You must have the means to lift the container off and on the chassis.

Otherwise, you will be required to load the container while still on the chassis.

You may need a crane to lift a 40’ steel container off the chassis.

You must load the container while it stays on the chassis or has some means of lifting the container on and off the chassis.

What is FA Date in Relation to Container Yard?

FA date refers to the first date available for the pick-up of an imported container.

Typically, you enter the date on the terminal system at the end of business hours.

It implies that your cargo has been discharged and is at the terminal.

The cargo has the shipping line and custom releases but not yet ready for pickup.

The FA date will be the following day of business after vessel discharge.

8 AM is the time when the business day starts.

What is Does it mean when CY Issues an OOG Hold?

When a container yard issues an OOG Hold, it means that they require extra handling fees for such a container.

OOG Hold signifies that the standard container dimensions will require special stowage together with special gears when handling it at the terminal.

An out-of-gauge container at the terminal will require an equivalent space of at least six standard containers.

These special handlings require extra charges and are payable through the issue of an OOG Hold.

Do CYs help with Exporting Containers?

Container yards can help exporters in exporting their goods to different countries.

What is the Procedure of Export Containers through CY?

As an exporter, it is your responsibility to take the cargo to the container yard or the container freight station.

You will then file the Shipping Bill among other necessary documents.

The goods must be inspected by the officer in charge of customs before stuffing inside the container before sealing it.

After that, the containers get transported to the gateway port.

At the port, you load them onto the shipping vessel ready for delivery to the destined port.

Can I Import Containers through CY? What is the Procedure?

Yes, it is possible for you to import containers through the Container Yard.

If you intend to import your goods through the container yard, the specific container yard should advise you.

So that your suppliers are able to manifest the containers to that specific container yard.

To import cargo through a container yard, instruct your supplier to manifest the containers to your designated CY.

After landing at the seaport, the cargo will be sorted and transported to your chosen container yard through your forwarding agent.

On arrival at the container yard, the consignment will be transported to the Container Freight Station.

You will file a Bill of Entry and other necessary documents before releasing of the containers.

How do I Export Containers that are to be Loaded at the Supplier’s Premises through CY?

You need to have the empty container delivered to your supplier’s premises if you intend to stuff it with goods there.

Your agent will help you seek permission from the customs authorities to take the container from the yard to the premises.

The permission is vital since the containers are of foreign origin and necessary measures must be taken by taking a guarantee/bond.

The bond will ensure that you take the containers ack to the CY.

It will be necessary to requisition the central excise officers’ services to help in examining the cargo being stuffed.

The officer will also aid in supervising the loading of goods into the container.

The officers will inspect the goods based on the export invoice and other documents before allowing them to be loaded.

Once the loading is complete, the sealing of the container with the central excise seal is done.

The central excise officer will sign the export invoice together with other necessary documents.

He/she will then forward a sample copy and other documents to the customs officers at the container yard.

After receiving the container, shipping bill, and other documents, the officers will verify the seal and allow the exporting to proceed.

There is no inspection of goods as long as the excise seal is intact.

However, there can be a delay if there is evidence that you have tampered with or broken the seal.

This will warrant suspicion on the correct value, quality, or quantity of the goods insider.

There will be a need to re-examination the container before the customs authority allows you to continue with exportation.

What is a Container ID and why is Important in CY?

A container ID is a unique code on the container issued based on international standards.

The code consists of a sequence of letters and numbers.

The unique ID acts as a unique identifier in a container yard.

It helps organize the containers based on goods contained when they should move out or specific owner.

This not only helps in easy access to containers but prevents any misplacement of the containers.

Their likelihood of misplacement is very high if proper identification and organization is not in place.

Can I buy a Shipping Container from a Container Yard (CY)?

Yes, you can buy a shipping container from a container yard near your port.

Simply make your inquiry with the department in charge of selling equipment at the yard.

You will get a good deal buying directly from a container yard than buying from brokers.

What are the Advantages of Container Yard?

There are many advantages to a container yard.

They include:

  • The container yards tend to provide some facilities like clearance of customs. They also bring import/export service near the industrial complexes in the mainland away from the seaports.

After the cargo gets clearance,it doesn’t need to go through the customs at the port and will be cleared for export.

  • Reduce the overall logistics of empty containers through the provision of consolidation facilities for LCL shipments in the mainland.
  • Container yards are able to maintain the importing and exporting costs at competitive rates.This is through the provision of the necessary facilities in the mainland.
  • Container depots greatly increase the export business of a country through the construction of feeder infrastructure for ports.
  • Container yards come in handy when it comes to creating more space in the port spaces.

The advantages of containerization cannot be fully experienced without a proper network of container yards.

With this, the exporters are able to enjoy exporting cargo via the container yards.

At BanSar, we will help you in all your freight forwarding needs from China to any global destination.

In case you have any questions about the container yard, feel free to contact BanSar team.

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