What is Container Freight Station (CFS) And Its Significance

August 25 , 2021 | CATEGORY : SERVICES

As your business grows, you may look to expand your footing beyond your existing customer base and extend your reach to attract potential customers. To access a seamless network of distribution and shipping, it is essential to utilize containerized shipping. Earlier, goods from the smaller shipments would be loaded and sorted only at the time of onboarding. But today, the shipping process has been revolutionized, for smaller and larger shipments alike, with the help of Container Freight Station (CFS).

What is Container Freight Station (CFS)?

A CFS is an area, typically a warehouse near shipping ports or crucial railway hubs. These container freight stations are either owned by private stakeholders or shipping terminals. Their primary function involves the consolidation and de-consolidation of less-than-container load (LCL) cargo. Consolidation includes bringing together multiple LCL shipments to form a full container load (FCL) whereas de-consolidation is the process of segregating the LCL shipments.

Moreover, a Container Freight Station is also utilized as a temporary storage space for goods for import and export. As per the latest government data (March 2017), India is home to 168 container freight stations.

Why Container Freight Station?

CFS has become an integral part of the shipping business. It has made the import-export business seamless at both, origin and destination points. And so, container freight stations are segregated into origin CFS and destination CFS.

With the exponential increase in the demand for LCL shipments, the stations have become a sought-after facility for import-export. It offers an advantage of a centralized shipment location, in turn contributing immensely to streamline and ease up the entire process.

What Does A CFS Do?

  • Chalk out a viable container load plan
  • Obtain and consolidate LCL shipments for export
  • De-consolidate the container at destination CFS. Then, dispatch the shipment for delivery
  • Loading and unloading of containers
  • Assign specific marks and seals to the containers for identification purposes
  • Arranging and rearranging empty containers from container yards
  • Managing transportation of laden containers to corresponding port or terminal
  • Keeping an account of containers before & after shipping and sort accordingly
  • Regular maintenance and timely servicing of the containers
  • Overlooking the customs clearance procedures while ensuring the goods are kept safe until shipped or picked up
  • Utilizing free spaces to become a temporary storage facility for cargo

The Import and Export Process at CFS

As the Container Freight Station (CFS) simplifies the shipping process for LCL and FCL cargos, here's how the process works:



  • Exporter arrives with goods at CFS along with a shipping bill
  • The goods are unloaded and the CFS custodian accounts for receival of the goods
  • Customs authorities initiate customs clearance procedures for the goods
  • Once the procedure is completed and customs authorities issue a shipping bill with “let export order”
  • CFS begins loading the goods into the container
  • The container is sealed and marked. CFS dispatches it to port/terminal for export



  • As the container arrives, the importer files an import general manifest (IGM) at the port. This consists of details regarding the cargo, exporter, importer
  • The container is then forwarded to the destination CFS
  • CFS offloads the cargo and sends it for cargo clearance process
  • Cargo owner or their clearing agent files bill of entry. Once the cargo clearance and duty payment is done, it is forwarded to the customs authorities
  • Customs issues bill of entry with an “out of charge” order
  • The CFS custodian then dispatched the cargo to the importer with a gate pass

As the Container Freight Station acts as an extension of the port, it allows the ports to reduce congestion while streamlining the entire process.

How does the CFS charge?

For every activity the Container Freight Station performs, it levies a charge accordingly. Moreover, the charges for 20-foot, 40-foot and 45-foot containers vary and the charges for reefer, hazardous and over-dimensional cargo (ODC) are higher. And so, it is essential the exporters and importers must know about these charges.

If these charges are not taken into consideration, it can lead to shipment delays, a rise in logistics cost and most importantly, it could deteriorate your relations with customs authorities, which could be a bad sign for your business.

Undeniably, with the introduction of CFS, the process of shipping has been optimized. But we believe that it takes a trustworthy container freight station to understand what your needs are and ensure the delivery of the best services. Which is why we at Allcargo, have India's widest ISO-certified CFS network at your service.

With our Container Freight Station network across India, we aim to bring you everything you need in a “one-stop” service. The state-of-the-art services along with our several years of experience are designed to cater to all your shipping requirements. We understand what it takes to ensure seamless delivery of your products and provide you with results that exceed your expectations.