Inland container depots / Dry ports

Inland container depots / Dry ports

  • Inland Container Depots (ICDs) or “Dry Ports” can be private or state-owned.
  • They assist in the efficient movement of cargo for shippers, shipping lines & freight forwarders playing a crucial role in transshipment, storage and consolidation of goods.
  • ICDs also double up as hubs for container repair, cleaning and inspection.

Inland Container Depots (ICDs) are container storage facilities located in the interiors of a country, away from the servicing gateway ports and port towns. Shipping companies utilize ICDs to store and move containers before and after transporting them to the seaports. Such facilities are also sometimes referred to as “Dry Ports” because they are located away from the sea and major river routes. ICDs help importers and exporters process their shipment near their warehouses and factories, while the ports themselves benefit from de-congestion by making optimum use of the limited space available. It serves as a common user facility with public authority status for handling containers carrying goods for import and export under Customs control and other authorities authorized to clear merchandise for consumption, warehousing, re-export, temporary storage for onward transit and export.

ICDs assume importance because they help in de-stressing ports that are usually constrained with limited space. At ICDs, freight forwarders, carriers, customs agents and officials offer their services to importers and exporters facilitating the smooth handling of cargo away from ports. Such de-centralization helps ICDs perform important functions closer to the major production centres, industrial complexes, warehouses and consumption hubs in the country where they operate.

Major functions and benefits of Inland Container Depots:

  • They operate as facilities to store the containers for a brief duration prior to transferring them to the port for loading into the ships.
  • They provide import and export customs clearances, serve as warehouses for temporary storage for onward transit and exports, and also add up as hubs for transshipments.
  • Inland Container Depots offer facilities for the repair of containers and equipment used in the lifting and movement of containers.
  • Their services result in reduced movement of empty containers and help to consolidate shipments that are “Less than Container Load” (LCL).
  • By serving as feeder infrastructure for the ports, ICDs contribute to higher and more streamlined exports for a country.
  • They act as transit points for rail & road to and from the serving ports, function as concentration and consolidation hubs for long-distance cargo.
  • Customs clearance facilities at ICDs located close to the production and consumption centres result in a streamlined and smooth movement of goods.
  • Better control over demurrage charges and pilferage of goods, economical transportation & inventory costs and issuance of through bills of lading by shipping lines.
  • Cargo that goes through all customs formalities at ICDs and cleared for despatch do not have to undergo further inspections or scrutiny at the port.
  • Essentially, ICDs are an extension of the ports where all major services can be availed.

We can summarize by stating that inland container depots optimize the movement of import/export cargo between ships and land transportation networks. This redeployment of container sorting and processing functions from congested ports results in more rationalized handling and movement of cargo.

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