What is transshipment?

Transshipment is the transfer of cargo from one shipping vessel to another at an intermediate port in a different country. In this blog, learn about its process in the blog.
As a part of the export logistics process in international trade, transshipment is a crucial step involving the transfer of goods from one transportation vehicle to another during the course of a shipment, without goods being stored or processed at an intermediate point. It ensures that goods are transported efficiently in a cost-effective way to their final destination, particularly in cases where direct shipping services are not available.

What is transshipment?

Transshipment is the transfer of shipments or goods from one shipping vessel to another at an intermediate port or hub in a different country. It is often used to transport goods to their final destination when direct service is not available due to a variety of reasons such as shipping routes, cost, and logistics1. For instance, when a shipment, that’s originally going from the US to Japan, is sent via a truck to a nearby port in the US, then shipped to a port in China, and finally shipped to Japan – it’s called transshipment.

What are the types of transshipment?

There are two main types of transshipment2:

Silent transshipment

In a silent transshipment, the cargo is transferred from one vessel to another without being reported to the importer. The transfer is kept confidential, and the original vessel carrying the goods continues to the next port of call.

Active transshipment

It is the opposite of the silent type and involves cargo being reported to the importer or consignee of the goods. The transfer of cargo is recorded, and the importer or consignee is informed of the new shipping details.

Transshipment process

Below is the commonly followed transshipment process3:

Arrival of cargo:

Cargo arrives at the initial port of loading and is checked in for transport.

Loading of cargo:

Cargo is loaded onto the initial vessel for transportation to the transshipment port.

Transportation to transshipment port:

The initial vessel carries cargo to the port, where it is offloaded for transfer to the next vessel.

Unloading of cargo:

Cargo is offloaded from the initial vessel and is held at the transshipment port for transfer to the next vessel.

Customs and documentation:

At the transshipment port, customs and other regulatory authorities verify the cargo and ensure that documentation is in order for the transfer of cargo to the next vessel.

Transfer of cargo:

Cargo is transferred to the next vessel for transportation to its final destination. This can involve loading it onto a new vessel or moving it to another mode of transportation such as a truck or plane.

Loading onto the next vessel:

Cargo is loaded onto the next vessel for transport to its final destination.

Transportation to final destination:

The next vessel carries it to the final destination, where it is offloaded and delivered to the consignee.

Throughout the process, there are various factors that can affect the efficiency of transportation including logistics, customs requirements, regulations, and security concerns. It is important for all parties involved in the transport to coordinate effectively to ensure that the process is completed without any hassles.

Need of transshipment in transportation of goods

There are several reasons why transshipment may be necessary in the transportation of goods:

Geographical constraints:

Sometimes, the final destination of a cargo shipment may be inaccessible by ocean or land transportation. In such cases, cargo must be transshipped to a port or location that is more accessible to the final destination.

Cost savings:

It can often be a more cost-effective option for transporting goods. This is especially true when the cost of transporting goods directly to their final destination is expensive due to long distances or logistical challenges.

Security concerns:

In some cases, it may be necessary to transship cargo to avoid risks associated with certain routes or ports.

Political or legal restrictions:

It may also be necessary to avoid political or legal restrictions on certain types of goods or shipments. Hence, it is used to bypass trade embargoes or other regulations that restrict direct shipments.


It can be used to optimize logistics and minimize transportation time, especially in cases where direct transportation is not possible or practical.

How to track transshipments?

Tracking transshipments can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties and the potential for cargo to be transferred between different vessels and locations. Some of the strategies that can be used to track shipments and ensure that cargo is delivered to its final destination are:

Use a freight forwarder:

A freight forwarder can handle logistics of transshipment and provide tracking information throughout the process.

Electronic tracking:

Electronic or e-tracking systems can be used to monitor the movement of cargo and provide real-time updates on its location and status. This can include GPS tracking, RFID tags, and other technologies.


Detailed documentation can be used to track transshipments and ensure that all parties are aware of the location and status. This can include Bill of Lading, customs documents, and other paperwork.


Effective communication between all parties involved in the transshipment process is essential to track cargo and ensure that it is delivered to its final destination.

It is important to understand the end-to-end export logistics process and plan accordingly to avoid any hassles during shipment. One of the ways to do this is by opting for third-party logistics. If you choose to export through e-commerce programs like Amazon Global Selling, you can also select fulfillment methods offered by Amazon.

Ship across the world easily with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

You sell, we ship – FBA is as simple as that! To assist sellers, deliver global orders in a hassle-free and seamless way, Amazon takes care of everything from packing, shipping to delivery and customer service in the FBA program. With FBA, sellers can focus on their business expansion in terms of product quality, launches, marketing and more, while Amazon handles international shipping for them.

Free shipping to Amazon Prime members

When you list your products and choose FBA as an international shipping option, they are made available to Amazon Prime members with a free shipping facility in some of the countries. A few regions also offer two-day delivery services. Qualified FBA listings are displayed with a Prime logo to inform the customers that Amazon takes care of the packing, delivery, customer service, and returns.

A trusted logistics partner

Along with assisting you to sell your products in international marketplaces, Amazon also provides support so you can ship internationally without any hassles. Through FBA, your customers can contact Amazon support via phone or email anytime for resolution or queries. Amazon will help your customers on your behalf. Fast deliveries, 24/7 support, easy pickup, and returns facilitated by FBA has made customers trust the shipping service, this impacting their customers’ buying experience in a positive way.

More focus on scaling your business

With Amazon handling logistics on your behalf, it becomes easy for you as a global seller to focus on expansion of your exports, product quality and more. This will help you in easy inventory management.

Cost efficient

FBA charges on a “Pay-per-fulfillment” basis, which implies that you will be charged only for the storage space you need and the orders they fulfill. The shipping cost is included in your fees, and your Prime customers even get free shipping and faster delivery options at no added cost.

Cross border shipping has always been a challenge for exporters, especially those who are just starting off their businesses. It involves engaging with multiple carriers for each shipment, negotiating rates and service levels, understanding compliance, undergoing credit checks, tracking shipments and payments across carriers. SEND – a new logistics solution by Amazon addresses this by allowing exporters end-to-end access to a hassle-free logistics solution at competitive rates. To support you for hassle-free logistics, Amazon has also launched SEND, enabling you to ship directly to international fulfillment centers at competitive prices. All you have to do is book, pay and track shipments without any hassles from India to the world.
To export from India, register with Amazon Global Selling in just 15 minutes by sharing a few KYC documents (identity proof, address proof and credit card). With over 300 million customers globally, you can leverage Amazon’s global scale across 18 global marketplaces in 200+ countries and territories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of transshipment?
The role of transshipment is to facilitate the movement of cargo from one location to another, typically between different modes of transportation such as from a ship to a truck or from a truck to a train.
What are the advantages of transshipment?
Transshipment offers several advantages for businesses and the transportation industry:

· Cost savings: It can help reduce transportation costs by allowing cargo to be consolidated into larger shipments and using more efficient transportation modes.
· Flexibility: It provides greater flexibility in transportation options and enables cargo to be transferred between different modes of transportation, routes, and locations as needed.
· Accessibility: It can help overcome geographical barriers and enable access to markets that may otherwise be difficult to reach.
· Lower risk: It can help avoid risks associated with specific routes or ports and bypass political or legal restrictions on certain types of goods or shipments.
· Increased efficiency: Transshipment can help optimize logistics by consolidating cargo from multiple suppliers into a single shipment or distributing cargo from a central hub to multiple locations, making the transportation process more efficient.
What is the difference between direct shipment and transshipment?
Direct shipment involves moving cargo from its point of origin directly to the final destination using a single transportation mode. The cargo is not transferred between different transportation modes or locations, and the entire transportation process is handled by a single carrier. Transshipment involves the transfer of cargo between different modes of transportation or locations to reach its final destination. This can involve moving cargo from a ship to a truck or from a truck to a train, for example, to get to a location that is not directly accessible by the original mode of transportation. It typically involves the involvement of multiple carriers and logistics providers.
What is the transshipment time?
Transshipment time refers to the duration it takes for cargo to be transferred between different modes of transportation or locations during the process. It includes the time it takes for cargo to be unloaded from the original transportation mode, moved to a different transportation mode or location, and then reloaded onto the new transportation mode.
What are the types of transshipment problems?
Some of the challenges faced during transshipment are:
· Delayed transfer
· Cargo damage
· Loss of cargo
· Customs clearance issues
· Capacity constraints
· Security risks
· Regulatory compliance
How does a transshipment lead to shipping delays?
Some of the common ways that transshipment can lead to shipping delays include:
· Coordination challenges
· Customs clearance
· Capacity constraints
· Handling and packaging
Published on February 23, 2023.


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