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HomeDifference betweenThere is no difference between CY and CFS...!!!

There is no difference between CY and CFS…!!!

Well at least that is a misconception a lot of people have, one that could lead to loss of business and monies many a time..

The Shipping and Freight industry is full of abbreviations and terminologies that sound similar but have very distinct meanings and differences and it requires an intricate level of understanding to use these terms in the right place, in the right way and at the right time..

Many people enter the import, export, shipping, freight and trading business without proper research and understanding of these differences and get into a whole heap of trouble..

It is therefore imperative that these terminologies are understood clearly and used diligently.. There have seen several questions on this blog relating to such issues and I have explained the difference between several such terminologies across various articles..

Oh, and by the way,

400th Post of Shipping and Freight Resource


🙂 Coming back to the topic at hand, in my previous article about Container Service Types, I briefly touched upon CY and CFS.. In this article, I will explain the difference between CY and CFS in detail and the legal connotations..

CY = Container Yard refers to an area within the port or container terminal or dry port where FCL containers are stored either

  • after it is off loaded from the ship in the case of imports or
  • before it is loaded on a ship in the case of exports

In a CY/CY shipment, at the time of export, the customer will deliver the container to the designated CY at the port of load under the account of the shipping line and from then, the container is deemed to be under the control of the shipping line till such time the container reaches the CY at the port of discharge.. The customer will pick up the full container from the CY at the port of discharge..

In the CY/CY notation, the first CY denotes the CY at port of load where the shipping line takes responsibility for the container and the second CY denotes the CY at the port of discharge where the shipping line ends its responsibility for the container..

Depending on the contract of carriage with the customer and depending the port where the operation is done, some lines might suffix the port of load and/or port of discharge fields in the bill of lading with CY, example Hamburg CY which makes it crystal clear that the contractual obligation of the shipping line begins and ends at the Container Yard of the named port..

A typical CY area will look like the marked area in below image :

CY Area

CFS = Container Freight Station refers to a warehouse where goods belonging to various exporters or importers are consolidated (grouped) or deconsolidated (degrouped) before being exported or after being imported respectively..

Depending on whether it is an LCL shipment or Groupage shipment, the CFS maybe operated by a shipping line or groupage operator..

Customers will deliver cargo to the nominated CFS for packing in the case of exports or pick up cargo from the nominated CFS after unpacking in the case of imports..

Difference between CY and CFS



In the case of LCL shipments, bills of lading issued will be the lines bill of lading (no Master Bill of Lading) and will have the term CFS/CFS mentioned.. This means that the shipping line’s responsibility begins at the CFS at port of load and ends at the CFS at port of discharge..

In the case of Groupage shipments, bills of lading issued will be the House Bill of Lading of the consolidator and will also have the term CFS/CFS mentioned.. This means that the Groupage operator’s responsibility begins at the CFS at port of load and ends at the CFS at port of discharge..

In the case of Groupage shipment, the shipping line’s master bill of lading to the groupage operator will be a CY/CY bill of lading..

Although I have not seen it for many years, some shipping lines that handle LCL cargoes used to issue bills carrying the notation CY/CFS or CFS/CY which means

  • CY/CFS – One FCL shipper => Multiple LCL consignees
  • CFS/CY – Multiple LCL shippers => One FCL consignee

Anyone know of any lines still doing this, please do share..

Please feel free to share any of your experiences regarding CY and CFS terms and more importantly any claims etc that you may have encountered due to above terms..

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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. Hi, Thank you for clarifying but still there is question marks. My freight forwarder gave me a fixed shipping price from China to USA and said everything is included, even insurance if something happen. Now they want me to sign our agreement and it says “LCL from “A” to “B” base on CFS to Door.” What is “CFS to Door” corresponding to? Do they have the responsibility for the cargo from point A to B with CFS to Door?

  2. Hi Mr Manaadiar
    I’ve one question, any problem if the term in bill of lading input wrongly?
    Should be FCL CY/CY but forwarder input mistakenly in CFS/CFS terms.

  3. Him I have a question. Could you advice which loading terms would you use for below example.
    One shipper has two or multiple shipments for one cnee. Cargo fits to one container. Forwarder pick up empty CNT and deliver to shipper warehouse or another place of consolidation. Consolidation is done by shipper or another party in the process (not forwarder). Cnee wants to have two (or multiple) HBLs for this container. Which terms would you use? CFS/CY or CY/CY?

    • Hi Hassan, traditionally CFS used to be situated within the port area and not necessarily controlled by customs or bonded, but things have changed across the globe and different countries have different practices when it comes to CFS..

  4. Hi! I´ve been reading your blog for 2 months now and I find it quite interesting since in this branche, the possibility to find (good) information sources on the internet is remote.

    About this article, I had a doubt about LCL and FCL conditions. In my experience, I learned that LCL means that the carrier (shipping company) performes the consolidation, from several shippers by itself and therefore takes the responsability for it aswell (denominated as LCL in the B/L). But in FCL, the carrier just sees one shipper, the one that consolidated.

    My confusion is due to the images that you posted, because in the LCL case, on the blue container is writen FCL. Could you please explain this to me?

    PS: (this is knowlegde from the Hamburg shipping and transport institute. I have actually had more experience in tramp)

    • Hello Hans, thank you for bringing this to my attention.. I have edited the image to rectify the mistake.. 🙂 That should have read as LCL as it is being consolidated by the shipping line and the red truck should show as Groupage.. Trust this is clear now..

  5. Dear friend, I appreciate your great effort and thanks for your inspiration.
    Im planning to write an educational blog about Shipping and Freight in Turkish. I kindly ask you to give me permission to translate your articals by referring your blog.
    Best regards,

  6. i think container yard is more typically like the area in picture behind the road while area marked with black pen is called loading stack ( gated in containers).

  7. Mr. Hariesh Manaadiar, we all are thankful to your help to teaching us. After years of experience, if we got any doubt it is skeptical to take a view from others who has having same knowledge levels of ours. With your help, we could clear more of our doubts. God bless you my friend. = Murthy

  8. Hi
    In India particularly in Chennai port not allowing Delivery from port (there is no examination for Cntrs at port) if shipment need to examin by customs all these cntrs to move to offdock CFS for examination and delivery.

    in this case how to define CY/CY, pls explain


    • Hello Prasath, different countries could have different terminologies.. In some countries the area that you refer to as Off Dock CFS is known as Off Dock CY where containers are still under the custody of customs or rather it has not been cleared by customs.. CFS in the strict sense is generally referred to in terms of non-FCL cargo..

  9. Congratulations on your 400th entry!

    I studied it in college but in 22 years of working in the shipping/logistics industry, I’ve not seen it in practice.


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