Exporters are businesses that send their goods overseas to customers who want to buy their goods. A Freight Forwarder helps to arrange the transport from Australia to its destination. Businesses that bring goods into Australia from overseas are called importers.
Shipping containers are built in standard sizes. This allows storage boxes and pallets to be manufactured so that they fit snugly into a container.
The importer will have a warehouse close to transport where they can load and unload containers. You may have driven past some of these buildings with empty containers stacked outside. Depending on the goods, computer programs are used to work out the best arrangement for stacking the goods inside a container. This helps save the exporter and the importer money.
It also means that the goods in a full, well-stacked container will not move about and will remain safer from damage.
Each shipping container has a unique identification code, consisting of letters and numbers. Some containers are leased from container leasing companies and some containers are owned by the ship owner. The numbers and letters are used in all papers to keep track of the container at sea and on land.
Most containers are transported to a port by truck and some on rail wagons. On arrival, the driver is directed to a storage area where the container is stacked along with other containers destined for the same port. If the container has been stacked properly, the container will be then moved onto the ship.