Rolled Cargo

Rolled Cargo: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

I know you’re probably wondering what rolled cargo is.

That’s why this guide will answer all your questions about rolled cargo.

Let’s dive right in.

What Does Rolled Cargo Imply?

A rolled cargo implies to a cargo that is not loaded to the vessel by which it was meant to sail on according to the initial bookings due to lack of capacity.

Figure 1 Shipping containers in yard

Shipping containers in yard

Lack of capacity can be due to;

  • Documentation problems
  • Customs problems.
  • Mechanical problems.

Rolled cargo can be avoided with appropriate planning though some factors cannot be avoided.

Planning well ensures all your responsibilities are without errors hence by working with a good freight forwarder.

Ensure all documents are correct to avoid being fined.

Rolling of cargo usually happens at the big transhipment ports where shippers lose all visibility at times when needed the most.

Damages and loss of cargo are common during this process hence the shipper has to do some follow up to ensure the goods are safe.

Can My Cargo Be Rolled More Than Once?


  • It is often due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances on the part of the carrier which is never predictable each time it is being loaded.
  • Rolled cargo is never the fault of you or the forwarder.
  • It usually happens when they will require to be loaded onto different vessels many times.
  • It also tends to happen if your shipment requires a transshipment at lesser-known ports.
  • Your cargo can also be rolled more than once due to missing paperwork or failure to comply with some requirements.

Is Rolled Cargo Same As Container Rollover?

Figure 2 Loading containers in ship

Loading containers in ship


A rolled cargo is due to insufficient capacity of the carrier vessel due to over booking of spots on vessels.

A container rollover is due to failure to load the container to its scheduled vessel and it’s accommodated in subsequent vessel for shipping.

Rollover container delays shipments hence makes the customers very unhappy.

Container rollover leads to extra expenses hence makes the shipment to be more expensive to the shipper.

What Are The Consequences Of Rolled Cargo?

Some of the consequences include:

  • An extra charge involved will be covered by the carrier, hence building additional expenses.
  • High storage charges for cargo that is not shipped if the cargo is rolled for a longer period of time.
  • Congestion at the port if the carrier vessels are not able to park all the rolled cargo as well as the booked cargo.
  • Delayed shipment since the rolled cargo may last longer period than the intended time.
  • Goods are likely to be damaged if the cargo placement is done carelessly by the carrier service provider.

In Case You Have A Rolled Cargo; What Should You Do?

Here are some of the considerations:

  • Find out why your cargo has been rolled in order to achieve the best possible remedies over it.
  • Inform your fellow supply chain partners about the delays as you work on possible shipment plans.
  • Have alternative shipment plan ready if the cargo rolling is caused by the freight forwarder.
  • Update your accounts to rectify any possible mistakes done while booking.
  • Speak to your freight forwarder for better advice on the possible shipment method.

Is There A Way Of Preventing Rolled Cargo?

Figure 3 Loading shipping container

 Loading shipping container

  • Booking: Book shipment as early as possible in order to allow convenient time to prepare the documents required for cargo clearance.
  • Shipment plan: Obtain a flexible shipment plan to avoid possible delays in the supply chain and timely arrival of the cargo.
  • Time: Avoid shipment of cargo during the peak seasons and the major holidays between mid-August to mid-October.

Also periods prior to China’s Chinese New Year (in January/February) and Golden Week (October).

  • Freight Forwarder: Work with a trustworthy freight forwarder which has more experience on the best carrier services and reliable advice on the best shipment method.
  • Bill of Landings: separate your shipments into various bills of landings so that there’s a chance that some cargo may still get through even if one gets rolled.
  • Transshipment: Avoid routes that encourage cargo transshipment since the cargo may be rolled in case there is no sufficient space for cargo placement.

How Will Rolled Cargo Affect Import-Export Business?

They include the following:

  • General Rate Increase (GRI): if the cargo is rolled before the GRI, you may end up having to pay for the new increased price, which may sometimes be double as much.
  • Shipping High seasons: Shipping lines raise freight rates at the beginning of the high season in response to the increase in demand for their services.
  • Emergency Bunker Surcharge (EBS): EBS can be implemented as an emergency measure at the last minute, causing sudden cost imbalances in shippers’ logistics budgets.
  • Trucking Shortage: ocean freight prices increase as a natural market reaction since the capacity shipped decreases while the demand increases.
  • Extra Ocean freight costs: inadequate planning in advance for shipment may incur additional charges while the merchandise is rolled further.

What May Cause Increase In Rolled Cargo Rates?

Some of the main causes include:

  • Unprecedented Volumes: High cargo volumes are normal during the August-November peak season preceding the Christmas-New Year holidays.
  • Shortage in shipping containers: major container shortage is obtained from regions where a lot of cargo is being exported from.
  • Stretched shipping lines: shipping lines are fully deployed hence operate at maximum capacities and can’t contain more vessels.
  • Congestion at the ports: ports across the world are overwhelmed hence they are not be able to operate with full efficiency.
  • Outdated shipping contracts: a shipping line may rule out for new contract assignment if the cargo gets rolled beyond the agreed period of shipment.
  • Unreliable shipping: a rolled cargo may incur additional charges where a non-reliable shipping line may process additional charges.

At BanSar, we are here to make you shipping from China business hustle free.

Contact us today for all your shipping needs from China.

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