CFS (Container Freight Station) – What is CFS?

CFS Meaning - Container Freight Station

What is CFS?

Like CY, CFS stands for ‘Container Freight Station’; a station or warehouse where a number goods or products are stored to be shipped together in one or more containers.

At a CFS, the goods normally belong to a number of different customers, and the shipment is often done via LCL shipments.

LCL (Less container load) shipments occur when the exporters don’t have enough cargo to fill one container full (an FCL). We’ve put together a guide on Less Container Load Shipments and Full Container Load Shipments here.

CFS/CFS – What is a CFS – CFS shipment?

A Bill of Lading might contain the port name followed by /CFS, which refers to the shipping port name, followed by the destination port name, which clearly lays out the responsibilities between the exporter, shipping company and customer.

CFS Pier to Pier

Another term often appearing on Bills of Lading or Letters of Credit are CFS/CFS pier to pier, referring to cargo which is packed by the carrier into a container along with other goods and accepted and unpacked by a consignee at the destination terminal or port.

CFS Receiving Services

CFS receiving services are a set of services which are provided between receiving cargo from exporters and packing them into containers.

CFS Receiving Services include:

  • Moving empty containers from a Container Yard to a Container Freight Station
  • Drayage of loaded containers from the Container Freight Station to the Container Yard
  • Tallying
  • Issuing dock receipt or shipping order
  • The physical movement of cargo in or out of a Container Freight Station
  • Stuffing, sealing and marking of containers for labelling and identification
  • Storage of containers
  • Ordinary sorting and stacking of containers pre or post shipment
  • Preparing containers internal load plan


An organisation required a CFS/CFS Shipment in order for them to transport smaller orders of goods to clients around the world.

– Helen S, Shoe Manufacturer


Case Study

Footwear Company

A footwear company needed to make deposits to their South American suppliers in order for them to have goods shipped using a deposit and trade facility with a receivables line.

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About the Author

Trade Finance Global (TFG) assists companies with raising debt finance. While we can access many traditional forms of finance, we specialise in alternative finance and complex funding solutions related to international trade. We help companies to raise finance in ways that is sometimes out of reach for mainstream lenders.

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