Transshipment in logistics occurs when cargo either individual pallets or full containers are moved from one transporter to another while being moved from the collection place to the delivery place. This practice is frequently undertaken by shipping lines in order to maximise the cargo loading of their vessels. Transhipping containers allows shipping lines to serve smaller ports which the large ocean vessels (often called the Mother Vessel) are unable to enter due to their draft,length or width. These are called feeder services and allow the small ports to connect to other ports all over the world.  For container ocean freight services one of the biggest transshipment port is Singapore in the Far East. Other major transshipment ports are Rotterdam in Europe which has many feeder services calling at UK ports , Jebel Ali in the Middle East and Hong Kong in China.

Transshipment is a regular feature of multi-model shipments. Containers moving from an inland destination may initially move from a inland terminal to a port by rail, they are then transshipped onto a vessel and taken to the nearest destination port. Next they are transhipped onto a train, and sent by rail to the destination terminal.

For shippers moving containers which are going to be transhipped it does not mean any additional paperwork. Shippers should be aware that ocean transit times will normally always be longer compared to a direct service as the container has to be off loaded to quay and then wait for the feeder vessel to arrive at the port before being reloaded.  Depending on how close the port is to the final destination this additional transit time may be offset as the final on-carriage by road or rail will be shorter. For shippers the main benefit for a transshipment service from a main country port to another main port is cheaper freight rates. So for low value, or non time sensitive shipments these routes are worth considering in any supply chain planning.

Co-loaders who consolidate part cargoes from many shippers may transship cargoes at strategic ports locations around the world. This allows the co-loader to increase efficiency and reduce transport costs for shippers.  A co-loader may ship from 6 ports spread around the two different regions. The cargo from each individual port is insufficient to fill a full container for the other five ports. So the co-loader has a central port where all the cargo is consolidate. Now the co-loader has sufficient cargo to fill a container for each port. Neither the shipper nor the consignee is effected is still going being moved as contracted, but all parties benefit from the lower costs.  Shippers should always ensure their cargo is suitably packed to ensure the shipment withstand being handle multiple times.

[This is part of logistics help articles]

News Category: FAQ

The Coronovirus is continuing to have an impact supply chains involving China. This is being particularly felt on reefer shipments. Many shipping lines  have issued warnings to shippers exporting to China that there is a severe lack of space for reefers in certain ports. The inability to be able to move containers off quay to distribution centres and factories  is causing a major headache for ocean freight forwarders and shippers of temperature controlled products.

Safmarine is the latest shipping line after CMA-CGM and the ONE Shipping Line who have now had to issue a notice that they need make a surcharge on reefers to ports of Shanghai, Xingang and Ningbo due to the complete. Safmarine are adding 1000USD per container to all bookings from 28th February. The issue is so critical now that the shipping line is offering to divert reefer boxes destined to these ports free of charge to other Chinese port, which is very rare for any shipping line to do. Shippers who are making new bookings for these ports need to be aware the shipping lines no longer guarantee the cargo routings,  nor will they accept any responsibility for the delivery time of the containers. Containers may be diverted to other ports at the discretion of the shipping line if there is no space available at the destination port.

There are some reports of shipping lines declaring general force majeure on all reefer traffic destined for these ports. They are going have them offloaded at other Chinese ports. It will be the responsible of the freight paying party to arrange them to be moved to the final destination. All shippers should be aware of the potential costs both in monetary and time future shipments may incur. It is recommend they constantly keep on top of this developing situation as it may continue to get worse, as the ports cargo is being diverted to begin to fill up.

News Category: Shipping
Image of Coronovirus

AJF main operations in the Middle East are in Jebel Ali, U.A.E. served by our experienced agents. We offer a range of logistics services in this important logistics hub serving not just only the Middle East but also Europe, Africa, USA/Canada and the rest of the Americas in co-operation with them. Due to the U.A.E geographical location it can serve as a practical location to serve Europe and Africa and the Far East including Australia. Companies with manufacturing facilities and supply chains which start in China can have the goods transport to Jebel Ali from various China ports. At Jebel Ali the goods can be devanned and then the products can be picked to assemble the final shipment from the individual factories to the final consignees’ requirements.

Below are the logistic operations which can be undertaken in Jebel Ali.

  • Warehousing
  • Transshipment
  • Cargo Consolidation
  • Cargo Splitting and Distribution
  • Product Relabelling
  • Order Fulfilment

Our warehousing services are available to all our clients who need to rework their products, have them stored for later distribution, or quality inspected. Where containers have been handball loaded at the manufacture we can destuff the container, repack on pallets, shrink-wrap and then export to the final delivery destination.

Our transshipping services allow importers and exporters to change containers, packaging marks and shipping documentation where the shipper may not want the receiver to know where the goods original origin was. This service is particularly useful where the shipper is acting as an agent only and never handles the goods directly themselves and wants to avoid the buyer contacting the supplier directly. It is is also useful for companies shipping to politically sensitive regions where there may be restrictions on them.

The consolidation service allows clients who source from various factories which are exported from various ports in the far east and have a central location to consolidate these shipments before transporting them to their final destination in the Middle East, Africa, or Europe. We take either Full Container Loads or part loads, store them and once we have sufficient goods in store we then load them into one container, arrange the new paperwork and then export them. The consolidation service can be used for multiple shipments from Europe  to go to a Far East country or Australia.

Cargo Splitting and Distribution is the reverse to the consolidation service where a client has one supplier but multiple receiving destinations. We take into our warehousing the shipment which can consist of one or multiple containers. The shipment is then devanned from the container. Following the orders given from the client the cargo is split and packed onto pallets, relabelled where required and then exported to each destination. This allows the client to export in bulk from the supplier at more cost effective rate and if required make if more difficult for them to know the final destination.

The order fulfilment services are suitable for clients with international supply chains which need a location with good links to all worldwide locations. We can pick orders to a clients specific requirements and they can then be airfreighted out immediately to be with the end customer within 24hrs or  to a clients distribution centre for them to manage the final delivery. This allows stock to be held in one central location which allow clients to be able to manage seasonal demands or environment where there may be a sudden demand for one product type in multiple locations.

News Category: FAQ

The logistics industry is like a lot of  established industries is very slowly being dragged into the digital world.  AJF introduced its own API over 12 years ago the first small freight forwarder in the UK for its clients, when  no other small forwarder had one and larger shippers were using EDI.  Even today most shipping lines are only now creating customer portals and none of the have any form of API’s available for there clients.

AJF online facilities have continued to grow over the this period.  The role out of our customs clearance api and additions to the clients portal of a dedicated customs brokerage area will allow the submission and management of clearances a lot easier.

Part of this push to increase digitisation is due to us expecting to move from the old HM Customs Chief system to the new HM Customs Customs Declaration System(CDS). The new CDS requires more information from shippers and consignees and by having it submitted to us electronically helps reduce errors and speeds up the submission. Through the API and the port  clients will have the ability to do the following:

  • Calculation of Duty / VAT immediately
  • Check if commodity code is correct
  • Check if licences  or port health required
  • Advise if reduced rate of duty available
  • Download copies of C88’s and other documents for previous entries

There will be four ways to be able to send us the customs clearance information:

  1. By use of our API
  2. Using the bulk upload manifest tool in the client portal
  3. Entering manifest data by hand into the information into the client portal
  4. Sending us a spreadsheet in our required format by email of the manifest data

Options 1,2 and 3 will be a our preferred option with lower customs clearance charges being applied. Currently being tested by several of our clients. We will have available a spreadsheet to download which can be used in our bulk upload tool or you can create your own based on it. We plan to make these customs clearance improvements available to all of our clients by the end of June.

News Category: AJF News

This is further update on the continuing impact of the COVID-19 virus on logistics and supply chain services in China. Currently the rate of infections being reported has slowed down in China. However there are new cases being reported other countries around the world which did not have them before which indicates the virus still has not been full contained. The overall situation is still very fluid.

Within China transport links within provinces are gradually returning to normal, however there are still restrictions on trucks moving across province’s borders.  Chinese authorities are giving permission to more manufactures to reopen factories and restart production, however some factories are still very cautious about opening as they are worried when workers start returning to the factory sites it may start off another outbreak of the virus and the factory being shutdown again. Additionally some workers are still reluctant to return from fear of getting infected creating a labour shortage in some regions and causing production output to be reduced.

It has been reported that to date the world’s biggest shipping line Maersk has cancelled 50 sailings from the China mainland to worldwide destinations. With ocean freight shipping suffering greatly with blank sailings and inability to get containers loaded, inter continental rail freight shipments from central and western china have seen a rapid increase in demand. The increased demand has resulted in a shortage of available capacity on most routes to Europe. Containers are now having to be stored awaiting the next available train with spare capacity. This is adding in some small delays of up to a week, however for most clients the time saving is still worth sending it on these routes. There has also been a subsequent increasing of rates to try and help manage demand.

As before if you are a shipper having issues with your goods leaving china and want to explore alternative routings or markets then you should get in contact with AJF and will see if our expertise in logistics and supply chain issues can assist you.

News Category: Shipping News

Vietnam is becoming an increasing popular alternative to China and and more buyers are integrating Vietnam manufacturers into their company’s supply chains. Vietnam has three industrial regions northern, central and southern. The northern region which includes the border with China has the North Key Economic Zone this is made up of several cities including Hanoi. This region is particularly attractive to companies who would like to move some of their manufacturing into Vietnam and keep limited manufacturing operations in China.

The Central Key Economic Zone is made up of five provinces in this region with the majority of industry being concentrated in the Da Nang area.  This area is currently not as economically developed as the north or south regions, but is continuing to attracted inward invest and is steadily growing its occupancy.

The Southern Key Economic Zone is made up of several southern provinces which included eight cities. The biggest of these is Ho Chi Ming City and the region around this has created the biggest economic investment zone across the country, with the highest occupancy rate. Industrial sectors include:

  • Equipment/Machinery
  • Food Processing
  • Textiles
  • Chemical Product Manufacturing
  • Metal and Plastics Manufacturing

Logistics within Vietnam are now well developed around the main ports, with significant investments in the port facilities and surrounding infrastructure. Most of the world’s main shipping lines have at least one service every week calling at Hau Phong, Dan Nag and Ho Chi Minh allowing a whole range of European destinations to be served.

From Ho Chi Minh City all common equipment is available including 20ft and 40ft High Cube size containers for standard shipments. Flat racks and open-top containers are available for out of gauge shipments.  and LCL services for loose and palletised cargoes. AJF can give rates for shipments to buyer’s purchasing under incoterms such  FCA, Ex-works and FOB incoterms for importers and DAT/DDP for exporters from Ho Chi Minh.

If you are a UK exporter and are an existing exporter or looking to export for the first time, especially with BREXIT happening in the UK. AJF handles export shipments from the UK to the Ho Chi Minh region we can offer assistance on which incoterms to use, best way of shipping including packaging of goods and if using an LCL or full container service.

For buyers who are shipping from various factories in the Ho Chi Minh region, our buyers consolidation service exists to collect the goods, store them in a warehouse and when there is sufficient for a full container load, stuff the container and arrange the export  clearance. The service gives the  benefit of saving on freight charges and having the security of only your goods in the container. If you are currently shipping LCL and are interested in this option then contact us to see if it would beneficial for you. The service is suitable for buyers who ship full containers from several different factories but want to ship more frequently. The buyers consolidation service means trucks can regularly call at the manufactures and pick up any goods ready and bring them to a central warehouse. Once there is sufficient for a container then it is loaded and shipped. This service can be beneficial for a buyer’s supply chain operations. If you need quality inspections to be made of the goods then we can arrange for them to be inspected once the have arrived at the storage warehouse. Quality inspections can be done to a buyer’s specification with photographs, written reports and where required even live video chat, allowing any potential production  issues to be dealt with immediately.

For very specialised cargoes including ones which require  geared vessels we can arrange both part and full ship charters, we have extensive contacts in the ship broking world and can usual find a vessel for any project cargo and port. Our consulting services are available to help clients plan how they are going to move the cargo, this includes covering the type of cranes required, trucks and site access. AJF has consulted on project shipments across the world and resolved many issues our clients have faced successfully.

News Category: Shipping
Image of Coronovirus

The Coronavirus,now officially named COVID-19, is continuing to have impacts on global supply chains.  The logistics industry is very labour driven with limited automation in warehousing.  Due to the the travel restrictions in place, it is making it difficult for manufacturers to get employees back and bring production to pre Chinese new year levels. These travel restrictions are also effecting the trucks moving the goods and containers to port for export. Currently trucks are not permitted to cross from one province to another and cities are restricting which and when trucks can enter them. Complicating all of this is each city is creating its own set of rules to control entry and mange output. A truck operator may be able to collect goods from one city but unable to deliver them in another city. Ports such as Shanghai and Ningbo are particularly hard hit as the majority of shipments originate in a different province.

Several shipping lines have introduced additional blank sailings in the coming works. While shipping demand has dropped due to goods not getting to the ports, this will have the effect at the moment reducing capacity and keeping rates high. However if the COVID-19 gets worse and manufacturing continues to decline along with further movement restrictions within China then rates will begin to fall off. Currently the Dow Jones Transportation Average shows limited impact by the Coronavirus which means the markets are indicating that they feel the Coronavirus is under control and expect cases to begin to decline as the Authorities get control. However we at AJF are still very cautious about this and have first hand knowledge of the difficulties can shipments ready for export. It may be a few more weeks before the real effects of the manufacturing slowdown are fully felt.

We have been assisting some of our clients in sourcing new suppliers and manufactures from both Vietnam and India to help make their supply chains more resilient to the on going effects of the virus. Working with our agents in these countries we have found suppliers, arranged to inspect factories, ensure they comply with Western labour requirements and have the capacity to take on new clients. We have also arranged quality checks of the products to ensure they comply with the clients standards.

News Category: Shipping News

The UAE came into existence in 1971 and at the time its main export was oil. It is this commodity which drove the development of the Emirates and led to the massive development projects of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. During this period the Emirates also started to develop free zones to attempt to diversify the economy away from oil. Large investments were put into various logistics areas including the Jebel Ali Free Zone. This has now become the largest free zone in the world and has become used as a transshipment point for supply chain logistics around the world.

Map of Jebal Ali

Jebal Ali Free Zone [Google Maps]

The combination of both good air and sea transport links, combined with purpose built free zones have made it a very popular and cost effective location. If you are looking to distribute into Africa, Europe and the Middle East then Dubai in the UAE with its free zone has several advantages.

  • It is a dedicated sector constructed to cater to the huge requirement of logistics
  • This free zone offers 100% foreign ownership, free transfer of capital, and exemption from income tax
  • For companies looking to establish here it has visa regulations that are liberal and a workforce is easily available

AJF uses Jebel Ali as it main hub for delivering its logistics services into the Middle East and Europe via our agents here. Operating within the Jebel Ali Free Zone we are able to undertake the following.

  • Transshipment of full containers into other Middle East Countries
  • Full 20ft and 40ft container devaning
  • Palletising and re-exporting of goods into Middle East Countries and Europe
  • Label removing, document change to prevent receivers seeing the original supply
  • Goods consolidation from around the Middle East into one container for re-export
  • Third Party Fulfilment Services including pick n pack
  • Trading Company able to issue invoices and collect payments on behalf of a client
  • Storage of components for the Oil and Gas sector with urgent 24hr handling facilities

Trans-shipment Case Study

A company imported regularly into the UK full 40ft Containers from a manufacturer in China and wanted to expand to several other new clients in Europe. The new clients only required a few full pallets every few weeks. Originally they wanted to fulfil from the UK however the costs of re-working the goods and sending them out from the UK was high even though the UK was in the EU. The alternative was bringing the goods into a warehouse into the Jebal Ali area. Here the container’s were unloaded, the pallets were checked and certain labelling was replaced. The pallets were then exported direct to the supplier using a Dubai trading company, preventing both the receiver and the Chinese manufacturer knowing  each other.

We can manage as in-house logistics contracts for companies which want to out-source all of their supply chain requirements. This includes locating the facilities and set up the procedures to handle the import and redistribution of the goods.

If you have questions about our services or want quotes for shipping or our supply chain logistics then please contact by phone or use our contact form


News Category: Shipping

Originally the UK government intended to reduce the majority of customs duties to zero.  However the UK government is now consulting on replacing the current import tariffs with 4 bands to cover the majority of goods.  The consultation will run from the 5th March 2020 and the government is wanting to hear from all business importing goods into the UK on how they feel the new tariff system should be implemented. Overall the UK government wishes to simplify the current complex tariff which it still shares with the EU until 31st December 2020.

The new import duties are expected to be consolidated around four bands.

  • 0% for items with duty rates previously below 2.5%
  • 2.5% for items with duty rates previously below 5%
  • 5% for items with duty rates previously below 10%
  • 10% for items with duty rates previously above 10%

As with the previous plan, certain products would be exempt and have their own custom import duty system. Currently there is no list available of what these products will be.

News Category: BREXIT

Shippers need to be aware that the Coronavirus is having an impact on shipping out of China. Due to the Chinese government putting travel restrictions in place and extending the Chinese New Year holiday, both manufacturers and logistics operators will have increased delays in arranging new shipments and dealing with existing bookings. Several Chinese areas have had extended their Lunar New Year Holiday to the 9th February. The regions currently included are:

  • Anhui Province
  • Guangdong Province
  • Chongqing Municipality
  • Heilongjiang Province
  • Henan Province
  • Jiangsu Province
  • Guangdong Province
  • Yunnan Province
  • Fujian Province
  • Sichuan Province
  • Jilin Province
  • Shandong Province
  • Shanghai Municipality
  • Jiangxi Province
  • Zhejiang Province

Additionally Hubei province which includes Wuhan city has the holiday period extended until 13th Feb.

Currently Hong Kong is working normally but any communication required to a mainland office will be delayed.

News Category: Shipping