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Different loading and discharging vessel

When a container is loaded and bill of lading is issued, you see the name of the loading vessel reflected on the bill of lading.. More often than not, you might have noticed that the cargo however arrives on a vessel different to that mentioned in the bill of lading.. Why is there a different loading and discharging vessel and how does a consignee know on which vessel his shipment will arrive..??

The name of the vessel changes due to the process known as Transhipment which is the act of off-loading a container from one vessel and loading it onto another vessel which may or may not be the vessel that will reach the discharge port.. If there is only 1 transhipment port, then there will be only 1 vessel change.. If there are 2 transhipment ports, then there will be 2 vessel changes..

So, all of the shippers documentation to the bank , like Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading, Cargo Tracking Notes etc (if documentary credit is involved) will show vessel A but cargo will actually reach the destination on vessel B.. When the consignee receives the Arrival Notification from the destination agent, it will have the details of the actual vessel/voyage so that their agent can use the correct vessel/voyage details to file the import manifest with customs..

If you wish to find out the connecting vessel details (before you receive the Arrival Notification from the line), you can also use the shipping lines container tracking system which generally provides details of the complete movement of the shipment right from the time the empty container has been picked up at origin (for packing), the loading details, the connecting (transhipment) vessel and also the final vessel/voyage information that will carry the container to the final port of discharge..

Also read my article regarding transhipment..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. So when you are submitting an entry to customs what country do you claim as the country of export? Is it the vessel A, the transhipment port, or vessel B the one that reaches the discharge port?

  2. Is there any time period for transhipment according to specific laws. Is it a mandatory requirement to declare the detail of next vessel (2nd vessel)


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