Container Freight Station: Definition, Purpose, Benefits for Import Export

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Container Freight Station

In the previous era, smaller shipments would usually be loaded and managed during the onboarding process. However, now Container Freight Station (CFS) has changed the transportation system paradigm for deliveries of various scales.

In this TransTRACK article, we will explain the meaning of CFS, the purpose of its existence, and the benefits it produces.

What is a container freight station (CFS)?

CFS is a facility where cargo that is less than the container capacity (LCL) is coordinated or unpacked before being transported in the export or import process. The consolidation process combines various LCL shipments to form a full container load (FCL), while the deconsolidation process involves splitting the LCL cargo into separate units.

This facility also has a role in temporary storage of goods waiting to be imported or exported. Moreover, container freight stations are also responsible for customs procedures related to cargo loads.

CFSs are generally placed around large airports, rail hubs, ports, large warehouses, or terminals. This is due to the need to deliver cargo to the final destination after the consolidation or deconsolidation process is complete.

Generally, container freight stations are operated by shipping companies, trucking companies, or logistics service providers.

Benefits and objectives of CFS (Container Freight Station)

CFS provides a variety of services to individuals or companies operating in the import and export business, with many stages taking place at these facilities. Some of the functions and stages in CFS include:


One of the main roles played by the CFS is receiving and sending cargo to and from the freight station location. This action includes the activity of moving containers in and out of the CFS, both between the CFS and the terminal area at the port.


Crews regularly perform maintenance on transport containers by conducting inspections to prevent insects and pests within the CFS facility. In addition, they carry out regular cleaning of these containers to remove dust and dirt. Furthermore, steps are also taken to ensure that containers are not exposed to water as this can cause corrosion.


When empty containers arrive at the container storage zone, teams of workers organize them based on their dimensions and color appearance. This action also aims to prevent unwanted incidents within transport stations. When carrying out this arrangement, they carry out calculations to ensure compliance with existing records.


In general, CFS often receives cargo from various customers. Managing submissions from such a variety of sources can be a challenging and confusing task.

To avoid this potential problem, workers at container transport stations carry out tagging actions on loaded containers, using information such as the name of the shipper or consignee. In addition, they include details of the package number, port of destination, port symbol, and name of the sending company to make the identification process easier.

Differences between CFS, ICD, CY, and Bonded Warehouse

Like container freight stations, container holding areas (CY), domestic container depots (ICD), and Bonded Warehouses are facilities that play a role in managing and storing containers that support import and export activities of goods. However, there are striking differences between the two types of facilities.

FacilityContainer Yard (CY)Inland Container Depot (ICD)Bonded Warehouse
Payload TypeHandling full load containers (FCL); CFS serves LCL and FCLHandling FCL and LCL containersStore imported and exported goods with delayed duty payments
LocationLocated within the harbor; CFS is located closer to the port/terminalLocated further inland to approach factories or warehousesIndependent location designated by customs
The main functionAligning containers for ship loading and storing containers after unloadingFacilitate cargo handling closer to the factory/warehouse locationAllows storage of goods with deferred payment of duties
Customs InspectionInspections are carried out at the port/terminal or at CYPerformed in the ICD with its own automatic systemInspection is under customs with processing in a bonded warehouse
ObjectiveFacilitate loading and storage at the portClose to the manufacturer/warehouse location and facilitate delivery to the portProviding concessions on duty payments to importers
Document HandlingProcessing and assessing related documents at the port/terminalCarried out in the ICD related to its automatic systemTitle to goods may be transferred to the buyer for payment of duties


If you are involved in the import or export business, it is wise to consider utilizing container freight station facilities, because this will have the potential to reduce the time and costs you incur. Not only that, this facility also provides a guarantee for the security of your shipment. When choosing a CFS facility as a work partner, it is recommended to choose a place that has a skilled and reliable professional team, considering that they have the knowledge to manage your goods with guaranteed security.

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