How does an Inland Container Depot (ICD) work?

August 20 , 2021 | CATEGORY : SERVICES

While shipping services play an important role in driving the logistics industry and facilitating global trade, ancillary infrastructure such as Inland Container Depots have an important role to play in facilitating the entire shipping process.

An Inland Container Depot is essentially a physical premise close to the ports. It could also be located in the hinterland. Customers are allowed to store containers, cargo, empty or full, on a temporary basis until they are ready for transportation. Typically, all the required documents and clearance is available to store cargo at such facilities.

Apart from this, they also perform functions such as:

  • Receiving and dispatching of cargo
  • Customs And document clearance
  • Temporary storage of cargo
  • Servicing and Repair facilities of containers         


Need for functional and efficient Inland Container Depots

An Inland Container Depot functions as stop gap location in the hinterland for cargo to either be stored in between transit or to get ready for transit. It is also used for loading and unloading of goods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted trade, along with the export and import. But as the world slowing limps back to normalcy and learns to cope with the new normal, trade activities are slowly improving. In turn, this requires Inland Container Depots that run smoothly and efficiently. Some of the advantages that this offers include:

  •  Destressing the Ports

Inland Container Depots work well since they help reduce stress and load on ports by decongesting them. With global markets slowly recovering from the pandemic, imports and exports are back in growth mode. This is expected to create increased load on ports across the world. Having access to good quality facilities for global trading activity will help alleviate stress on ports.

  • Add-on Services

Apart from being a storage container, the additional services that an inland container depot provides are many. They are helpful for businesses since they do not have to worry about warehouses, transit, and repair services for containers. The biggest boon they offer is safety and security of the cargo.

 Along with this, they also provide trans-shipment services. The Inland Container Depot also helps clear customs and the related documentation.

  • Infrastructure Support

One of the biggest advantages of having a strong network of Inland Container Depots is that they not only support the growing import and export activities of the country but can act as an accessible resource that contributes towards the economic development of the country. They act as a feeder infrastructure for the ports. They provide for more streamlined and smooth movement of goods.

  • Lower Costs

As Inland Container Depots serve as hinterland facilities, and they are also equipped to provide a whole range of other services. This allows for competitive rates since these Inland Container Depots allow for overheads to be reduced for businesses, by providing warehousing and transit services.

Apart from this, Inland Container Depots also provide export and import clearance, temporary warehousing facilities, and can also help reduce the movement of empty storage containers, leading to better demurrage charges.

  • Transit Points

One other major advantage of having a well-run Inland Container Depot is that it acts as a transit point for shipments. They can function as major hubs not just for consolidating cargo, but also for shipment via rail and road, especially for long distance cargo.  This also leads to economical shipping costs for businesses.

Often, businesses involved in Exim trade operations need to store and distribute cargo from locations that are closer to their destination, but not necessarily near a port. In such instances, a good Inland Container Depot can offer world-class facilities, the right equipment, trained professionals who have extensive experience handling different types of cargo, and the opportunity to explore first and last mile logistics. The right technology and systems such as RFID technology, online processes can ensure safety and security of cargo. It can also enable businesses to save on time and optimize their operations with convenient transportation and transfers from rail to road and vice versa.

In effect, reliable ICD services offer businesses the peace of mind to focus on their core business without worrying about the logistics.