Direct Vs Transhipment Freight Services

Direct Vs Transhipment Services

International Freight Offers 2 Distinct Services for Imports and Exports


When it come to Direct Vs Transhipment Freight Services – And, for both consolidation and full container shipments. Both freight services have their advantages and disadvantages, but it is important to understand the differences when choosing one or the other based on several factors.

Direct Service

A Direct Shipping Service refers to a shipping line leaving from a port overseas and arriving at a port at destination via a “direct sailing “The cargo is on board from the time the container is uploaded on the same vessel until it arrives at destination – there is no offloading of containers at other ports.

Direct Services Pros and Cons:

– Direct shipping services are more expensive because once the vessel departs, then the arrival time at the destination port is very close to the established E.T.A. (Estimated Time of Arrival) This mean the ETA of the vessel is close to the time on the booking.
– Offers quicker transit time.

Transhipment Service

A Transhipment Shipping Service refers to a shipping line leaving from a port overseas and arriving at destination VIA a transhipment port. This means that the original vessel must tranship and offload the cargo at a transhipment port on route – Containers which were loaded on board the original vessel, have to be offloaded at the transhipment port and have to wait for the “mother vessel “which has to come from another destination.

Transhipment Pros and Cons:

Ocean-freight rates are cheaper because Transit times are longer than Direct services
– Transhipment services are prone to delays due to backlogs especially during the peak season at the unloading ports
– Transhipment vessels are at risk of missing the “Mother vessels “due to late arrivals at transhipment port


It is important for an importer/exporter to understand the realities of using a transhipment service at a cheaper rate during “peak Shipping Season. A knowledgeable freight forwarder will always advise their clients of the current situation of congestion around the world.

Transhipments is rather like traveling to a country on a passenger plane, but you cannot get a direct flight, or the direct flight is expensive. A less expensive option is to get to your destination with one or more stop overs. You will be required to catch a connecting flight and change aircraft’s. In the shipping industry transhipments often require several stop overs of the journey before the goods arrives at the country for destination.