Container depots occupy an important part in the global supply chain. They manage the smooth flow of cargo for the shippers, shipping lines and forwarders and leasers in general. The container depot is contracted to consolidate the goods which are then loaded on to the ship. Apart from being a consolidation point, it is also a station for container maintenance services such as repair, cleaning or inspection. Empty containers that belong to leasing companies or shipping companies are stored here to be reused or repositioned. It is an exchange market for importers and exporters to sell or buy container assets.

A container depot can act as an extended part of the port like a satellite terminal because of its high flexibility with opening hours and access. Many times, it is a more affordable place to store containers than at the terminals at the port. When there is high congestion at the terminals, empty containers can be brought to be stored at the depot and then used for export activities. Containers that need to be repositioned can be brought to the terminal outside peak hours. Hence, the container depots act as a buffer for the terminals by storing empty containers which are a low-value activity that is taking valuable real estate at the terminals.

The container depot location is an important feature. A container depot located close to the terminals helps reduce the number of movements. Depots are located close to the ports and in hinterlands, known as inland container depots(ICDs). If it is a metropolitan area where there is high density at the terminals, container depots near the ports can respond better to the freight distribution services and can have an easing effect when it is part of the logistics chain. However, if inland depots are located close to shippers.


Container Depot Services

  • One of the main functions of a container depot is consolidation. Shippers bring their cargo to the depot to be packed and shipped, and loaded containers are unpacked and distributed.
  • Depots also help with administrative and documentation procedures.
  • Assist cargo owners with customs clearance.
  • After clearance, the container is lifted using cranes for inspection and categorised as damaged or operational.
  • The damaged containers are taken to the maintenance facility for repair, thorough cleanings and storage.
  • The empty containers in good condition are stacked separately for reuse.
  • Provide temporary storage facilities including reefer storage.
  • Arrange haulage services.
  • Some depots are also equipped to handle Out Of Gauge (OOG) goods which have extremely different dimensions from a standard container.



container chassis at container depot

Ownership of Container Depots

Container Depots can be owned by the state, private or private-public. In Europe and North America, different parties take up ownership such as port operators, rail companies, shipping companies. When it comes to Asia, India and China are mostly state-owned, especially the container depots in India are managed by the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR). ICDs in East Africa mostly fall under the private sector even though private-public partnerships are encouraged


List of Container Depots in our top Locations  

Here you find a list of Container Depots in the top 20 transacting locations on the xChange platform. It is common that shipping lines are in contract with hundreds of container depots around the world to have a wider customer base and to help their customers be flexible.


Port Country Depot Name Depot website Capacity
Port of Antwerp Belgium DR Depots 23,000 TEU
Port of Rotterdam Netherlands DR Depots 20,000 TEU
Port of Shanghai China Donghwa Container 53,000 TEU
Port of Hamburg Germany Progeco Deutschland GmbH-Ellerholzdamm 120 TEU/day
Port of Genoa Italy Gruppo Spinelli 10,000 TEU
Port of Qingdao China Ocean & Great Asia Logistics Co.,Ltd
Port Klang Malaysia Eng Kong Holdings Pte Ltd.
Port of Ningo China Ningbo Victory Cntr Co., Ltd. 30,000 TEU
Port of Nhava Sheva India Bay Container Terminal Pvt
Port of Singapore Singapore CWT Integrated Pte Ltd
Port of Tianjin China Tianjin Keyun International
Port of Jakarta Indonesia Pt. Tungya Collins Terminal
Port of Dalian China Dalian Singamas International Container 16,000 TEU
Ho Chi Minh Port Vietnam Greating Fortune Container HCM
Port of Barcelona Spain Recomar S.A.
Port of Valencia Spain Trans-Base Soler, S.L.
Port of Karachi Pakistan Hussain Trading Agencies (Pvt)
Port of Mundra India Bay Container Terminal Pvt
Port of Livorno Italy Autamarocchi S.p.A
Port of Hong Kong Hong Kong Container System Ltd. 30,000 TEU



container lifted at container terminal

Are Inland Container Depots (ICD) and Container Freight Stations (CFS) the same?

container depots connection map

Many exporters, importers, shipping lines and customs officials see no distinction between ICD/CFS as both functions as consolidation points. In most cases, the CFS is located close to the port of entry and stores the cargo that does not completely fill the containers and waits for other cargo to fill it up. So, it mostly deals with LCL cargo. CFS helps with decongesting the ports. These stations are also connected to rail or road transport.

On the other hand, the ICD is in the hinterlands away from the ports they serve. They mostly serve FCL cargo and can also be connected to road and rail transport. While CFS is closely associated with the port, the ICD is a separate entity by itself having the same authority as a Customs station.



Container Depot Processes explained - Container xChange
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Container Depot Processes explained - Container xChange
Container depots manage the smooth flow of cargo, consolidate goods, and container maintenance. Container Depots can be owned by the state, private or public.
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Container xChange
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