What is Transhipment..??

What is Transhipment..??

This was one of the questions asked by a reader of this blog.. A basic but an important question..

Simply put, Transhipment = the act of off-loading a container from one ship and loading it onto another ship..

What is transhipmentWhy does cargo need to be transhipped..??

In any service operated by any line there are practical restrictions in terms of coverage of ports.. There is no shipping line that can cover all ports around the world on a single service and therefore the services are segregated into trade lanes..

Example : South Africa to South East Asia, South Africa to Europe, South Africa to USA, South East Asia to Far East, Far East to USA, USA to Europe etc..

Lets say there is a liner service that connects Durban to Far East with Singapore, Hong Kong, Port Kelang being the ports of call on the voyage from South Africa to Far East.. Lets call this vessel A..

Lets say that there is a shipment from Durban in South Africa to Manila in Philippines.. Since this vessel A does not call Manila as part of its rotation/service, the container(s) will need to be taken off at one of the ports that vessel A calls..

What is transhipmentLets assume that this port is Singapore.. These container(s) will be off-loaded at Singapore and then loaded onto another vessel that operates on a route that connects Singapore to Manila.. Lets call this vessel B..

So the container that left Durban on vessel A will reach Manila on vessel B via transhipment at Singapore.. The bill of lading that the customer has been issued will show Vessel A, but the arrival notification that the consignee in Manila receives will show Vessel B..

Most of the big lines like MSC, Maersk etc have services covering virtually all corners of the globe via transhipment connections from one port or the other..

These lines also have what is known as Transhipment Hubs which are the ports on their service routes that have transhipment connection options to other parts of the world..

Example : MSC’s transhipment hub for their service to Australia is Port Louis, Maersk’s transhipment hub for their service to Middle East is Salalah..

This transhipment concept truly connects the world and one is able to ship a container from anywhere to anywhere in the world..

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

16 comments on “What is Transhipment..??

  1. Htet Ko Zin says:

    Thanks a lot, sir

  2. Qurban Ali says:

    is their off loading rules / regulation for transshipment containers

    1. Nothing specific except that if there are any hazardous or special cargo that is not allowed in the country of T/S then those regulations should be followed..

  3. hassan says:

    ]ŮŹDear Mr Hariesh
    what is the difference between direct transit and in indirect transit ? also about Empty container , the client back the empty cntr to final destination or pod area



  4. vikas padhi says:


    Thanks a lot for sharing valuable knowledge about shipping & freight.

    I have one query please solve it.
    What is self and non self filer ?

    1. Hi Vikas, thanks for your kind words.. Regret I have not heard of self and non self filer.. In what context has this been used and where..??

  5. You have rightly mentioned that the big shipping companies have been able to establish global network of shipping service through the use of transshipment hub ports connected by feeder services. The information given by you is very useful for the persons involved with the industry. Thanks

    1. You are welcome Humayun.. Glad to be of help..

  6. Raja Ali says:

    it’s really very nice definition. thanks for contributing and sharing such knowledge.

  7. jemimah says:


  8. victor says:

    Hello Hariesh,

    I would like to thank you for the wealth of knowledge that you are sharing in the freight industry.

    Freshmen and stalwarts alike need not look any further to gain valuable knowledge in the industry.

    Thanks for this blog.

    Kind Regards
    Victor-Cape Town

    1. manaadiar says:

      Thanks for your kind words Victor.. Coming from a stalwart like you, it is a compliment..

(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes)
You may also like :