What is Transshipment and Why is the Discharging Vessel Name Different?


Shipping large amounts of cargo overseas is a complex process. If it is your first time or you have shipped lots of items using a shipping line, there are some things that might be seem confusing. One of them is that when arriving at the destination port, the name of the discharging vessel is different than the name of the loading vessel.

Transloading is the Reason

The reason this might occur is due to a process known as transshipping. Do not get it confused with the term transloading. They are two different things. Transshipping is the process where your cargo is loaded onto one vessel at one port, and then it is moved from that ship to another ship somewhere in the middle of the shipment. Shipping lines do this all the time for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Liner service to the destination port is covered by more than one ship. This is a pretty typical practice among shipping lines. One ship cannot cover your entire trip from one end to the other, so you must transfer the cargo from one ship to another. Depending on how far away your destination port is, this can happen several times.
  • Scheduling issues require the cargo to be moved to another ship. All manner of things can throw ships behind schedule. Bad weather, port strikes, customs delays and politics can all add time to a ships schedule. Due to this unpredictability, shipping lines might need to shuffle cargo around to meet deadlines.
  • Your cargo is sent to a large transshipping hub before moving to a smaller port. Think of this like having a layover when using an airline. Sea vessels have large hubs, like Hong Kong, and then smaller ports of call that come out of that hub. It may be that your cargo has a “layover” at a transshipping hub before being moved to a smaller vessel servicing a smaller port.

Tracking Your Package

Since the loading vessel is the only ship listed on the manifest, how do you or the person receiving the cargo know what vessel it is going to arrive on? If you, as the shipper, wish to know what ships your cargo is going to be on, you can track your cargo using various tools provided to you by the shipping line. They should have a full list of all vessels that your cargo is going to move to and from to get to its destination.

You can also assign a person to be the recipient of the Arrival Notification from the shipping line. When you do this, the person or party that is identified as the recipient of the arrival notification will be given the proper information as to what vessel to get the cargo from.

Remember, when doing complex shipping that requires multiple modes of transport, known as transloading, professionals like Cratex Group can help you to navigate through the complexities. Contact us today!