What is the significance of stack dates and why is it important..??

image for container stackWhat is the significance of stack dates and why is it important..??

Stack dates as it is known in South Africa – (Cut Off times in lot of other ports) is quite an important item and period in the life of an export container, shipping line, exporter and port..

Stack dates are set by the port in conjunction with the vessel operator based on the ETA of the vessel at a port.. As the ETA  (Expected Time of Arrival) of a ship is subject to change, the stack dates are nominated as Provisional and once a steady ETA of the vessel has been declared, then the stacks are nominated as Firm..

Based on the nomination of the stacks, the shipping line will advise their customers of the same who must then make all efforts to bring their export full containers into port within the stack dates provided..

One of the main reasons for the stack dates is so that all the containers planned to be loaded on a vessel are present at the port and ready for operations by the time the vessel berths.. The vessel planners who do the stowage planning will then have a full idea of what they should expect to be loaded on the vessel and where they must place them on board the vessel.. For further info on stowage planning, please read my previous article Container Stowage Planning and how it works..

IImage for No Entryf the containers are not in stack within the stack period, then usually the port does not allow any extensions as it would then disturb the stowage plan that has already been made and cause delays to the working of the vessel which in turn will affect the customers documentation and also other vessels that are waiting for that berth at the port.. Port does however allow late arrivals in rare cases..

So it is in everyone’s interest that the stack dates are monitored and followed to ensure that the boxes reach the stacks in time and are loaded.. In the case of Johannesburg rail containers, Johannesburg City Deep terminal follows their own stack dates as set by Transnet Freight Rail and currently the rail stacks open about 12-14 days before Durban stacks open which should give ample time for the rail boxes reach Durban..

What did you think of the above article..?? Comment below..

8 comments on “What is the significance of stack dates and why is it important..??

  1. Greg says:

    Hi There,

    What is the best way to find the stack dates of other ports around the world? I have tried going to the port authorities websites but just like our Transnet site’s home page I cant seem to find the information, only difference is that if I google “transnet Stack dates” I can easly find it but for the ports outside South Africa I am struggling to find this information. Was hoping you had some suggestions?

    Maybe silly question, Is the 3 day “stack dates” something that is used all around the world? as maybe I am looking for information that is not there?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Greg, it may not be called stack dates in all ports around the world.. Different ports may have different terms and also the stacking period.. As far as I know, there is no uniformity globally in this.. For most ports, rather than the port website, the terminal operators such as DP World, PSA may have this stack date info on their websites..

  2. Htet Ko Zin says:

    Thanks a lot, sir!
    I find this web as an online shipping and freight class. Thank you very much.

  3. Shoaib says:

    Could you please share any stack date example or explain this using some example.

  4. Chantal says:

    Why do the rest of the world not use the word Stack Dates? We look rather silly throwing the word around when no one knows what we are refering to. Should it not be an international term?

    1. Manaadiar says:

      Hi Chantal, the term stack date seems to be unique to South Africa, most of the other countries use the term Gates Open/Close.. South Africa is unique in many ways but so are other countries like the USA who use quite different terminologies compared to the rest of the shipping world and specifically compared to Asia.. Like Drayage, Trucking, Haulage, Cartage all of which mean the same thing, but used differently by different countries.. If you recall in the past, South Africa used to (a lot of people still do) refer to 20′ and 40′ containers as 6m and 12m..

  5. Meral says:

    Why can the containers go directly onto vessel instead of pre-staging .
    Plan vs stow


    1. manaadiar says:

      Hi Meral, Why can or Why cant’..?? i am assuming you meant Why Cant.. It cant go directly to the vessel because the containers can be loaded only according to the stowage plan.. If your container is to be stowed at the bottom of the ship and is not there on time for the loading or if your container is to be stowed on deck and the work is going on inside the hatch and your truck is waiting, it could be some time before the container is offloaded from your truck to the ship.. Imagine if a lot of the customers come like this, there will be total chaos at the ships side.. Therefore it is required that the containers be offloaded at the yard first and the loading is followed based on the stowage plan..

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