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Transshipment or transhipment is the of or containers to an intermediate destination, then to yet another destination.

One possible reason for transshipment is to change the means of transport during the journey (e.g., from to ), known as . Another reason is to combine small shipments into a large shipment (consolidation), dividing the large shipment at the other end (deconsolidation). Transshipment usually takes place in . Much international transshipment also takes place in designated , thus avoiding the need for customs checks or duties, otherwise a major hindrance for efficient transport.

An item handled (from the shipper's point of view) as a single movement is not generally considered transshipped, even if it changes from one mode of transport to another at several points. Previously, it was often not distinguished from , since each leg of such a trip was typically handled by a different shipper.

Transshipment is normally fully legal and an everyday part of world trade. However, it can also be a method used to disguise intent, as is the case with , , or goods.


Transshipment at container ports or terminals
The transshipment of containers at a container port or terminal can be defined as the number (or proportion) of containers, possibly expressed in TEU, of the total container flow that is handled at the port or terminal and, after temporary storage in the stack, transferred to another ship to reach their destinations. The exact definition of transshipment may differ between ports, mostly depending on the inclusion of inland water transport (barges operating on canals and rivers to the ). The definition of transshipment may:
  • include only seaborne transfers (a change to another international deep-sea ); or
  • include both seaborne and inland waterway ship transfers (sometimes called water-to-water transshipment). Most coastal container ports in China have a large proportion of riverside "transshipment" to the hinterland.
In both cases, a single, unique, transshipped container is counted twice in the port performance, since it is handled twice by the waterside (separate unloading from arriving ship A, waiting in the stack, and loading onto departing ship B)...


Transshipment at a break-of-gauge
At a , cargo is transloaded from or covered goods wagons on one track to wagons on another track of a different , or else containers are transloaded from on one track to flatcars on another track of a different gauge. axles can eliminate this inconvenience.


See also

  • What Is Transshipment? from Informed Trade website
  • E. Rojas. "MCS Observers on board at-sea Transshipment Vessels." In: APO Mail Buoy Vol. 10 (3). pp. 8–9. 2007.

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