Differences between Direct and Indirect services in LCL & FCL

In our post today we want to highlight the differences between Direct and Indirect services for LCL & FCL cargo.

When carriers or freight forwarders mention direct services they normally refer to a service in which the very same vessel departing from POL is the same arriving to POD. This means that the container in which the cargo travels does not change vessels. The vessel itself may call and usually does, in many intermediate ports to download and load more containers, but our container in particular is not downloaded until arriving to its final destination. On the other hand if they refer to Indirect services, they mean that in any intermediate port the container will be unloaded from its initial vessel and loaded into a new one that may be the one that finally arrives to final destination, should no other transshipments be done. Indirect services are normally used on small ports that cannot hold big vessels due to its capacity or its water depth. This way the containers leave the initial port into a ‘feeder vessel’ that later on connects to the ‘mother vessel’ at a port with more capacity or means.

When it comes to Groupage companies, consolidators or NVOCC, the meaning of direct & indirect services changes completely. For a NOVCC a direct service stands for the services in which the very container loaded and sealed at origin is the same arriving to destination. It is not considered here if the vessel is the same, changes, calls other ports, etc., but simply that the cargo integrity is maintained since it is not manipulated in a intermediate port. On the contrary, when it is said that the service is via any given port, means that at that port the container will be unstuffed at the premises of the NVOCC company or its agent, in order to be loaded again into a new container with cargo different from the ones that escorted our cargo initially. This way the container stated on the BILL of LADEN will not be the same in which the cargo final arrives to final destination.

According to this, when an NVOCC company says that its service from Barcelona to Tokyo is, for example, via Singapore, means that in Singapore your cargo will be manipulated, unstuffed from the container and loaded into a new one that will finally arrive to Japan. This means more risks for the cargo safety and bigger chances for delays, cargo inspections, connection losts, etc. At Transglory we always recommend you to chose direct services.