Container Depot - Meaning & Definition

Published in Operations and Supply Chain Terms by MBA Skool Team

What is Container Depot?

The Storage area for empty shipping containers is called a Container Depot. Commonly used term in Import/Export in operations is ICD which means Inland Container Depot situated at inland points away from sea ports. The term ICD is used in Indian context in the area of Imports and Export of the sea shipments.

ICD is shaped to help importers and exporters to manage their shipments near their position of location. When the sea port is away from the location of importers and exporters Inland Container Depot helps them to save time as well as money in the dealings and formalities. In Inland Container Depot an arrangement of services of sea custodian, carriers, customs department, freight forwarders, customs brokers etc. are carried out to assist exporters and importers for even handling of cargo.


The primary functions of a Container Depot are:

• Receipt and dispatch/delivery of cargo

• Stuffing and stripping of containers

• Transit operations by rail/road to and from serving ports

• Customs clearance

• Consolidation and desegregation of LCL cargo

• Temporary storage of cargo and containers

• Reworking of containers

• Maintenance and repair of container units

Difference between an Inland Container Depot (ICD) and Container Freight Station (CFS)

Functionally there is no distinction between an ICD/CFS as both are transit facilities, which offer services for containerization of break bulk cargo and vice-versa. These could be served by rail and/ or road transport. An ICD is generally located in the interiors (outside the port towns) of the country away from the servicing ports. CFS, on the other hand, is an off dock facility positioned near the servicing ports which helps in decongesting the port by shifting cargo and Customs related activities outside the port area. CFSs are mainly expected to deal with break-bulk cargo originating/terminating in the immediate hinterland of a port any may also deal with rail borne traffic to and from inland locations.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Container Depot along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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