Challenges of transporting containers

Be it producers of goods, brokers, or intermediaries, at the end of the day they all end up transporting their goods using containers. It is a booming industry that enjoys many positive crusades and benefits. But as there are two sides to a coin, it also faces numerous challenges. You may be familiar with some of these issues as they are common in every type of transport business. But there are some concerns which are limited to shipping containers only.

Thus no matter what the season shipping container transport works 24/7. We have shed light on them so that you see or need a container next time, you value it!

Vastly spread

As containers are part of the supply chain, they are required everywhere and anywhere. For a transportation company, it becomes a challenge to provide service to all corners of the globe. Not only are there international problems but local and inter-city shipments also have their issues. As the business expands, it is no longer centralized and it becomes tough to manage such vastly spread locations.

Different areas will have different requirements which can be detrimental to consignments. The transporter has to be well aware of the conditions in each area to make the journey smooth.

So transportation between far-flung areas can be more challenging then it seems!


As we all know, usually most types of transportations have covenants attached to them. There are various legalities and regulation to be taken care of. Similarly, laws govern the container shipping industry as well. Not only that these are even stricter here as containers can be hazardous. The web of legal complications is more complex here due to wider markets, heightened security, political impediments, etc. It becomes very challenging to successfully navigate through these numerous legal issues to avoid penalties and fines.

The punishments are also very severe here as they are critical for running this industry ethically. Any monkey business or even mistakes can results in heavy fines up to $500,000.00 and even land you in prison for up to 5 years. So you have to very cautious when dealing with varying laws between different countries and even states or you will land in deep trouble. You may also lose your license to transport in extreme cases.

Increasing demand

You might think it is a good sign that the demand for containers is increasing. This would mean more business and higher profits. But where this potential growth beholds new opportunities, it also brings with it possible challenges. This is because the container industry requires long term investment and cannot adapt to changes quickly. It is no doubt that it has expanded three times in the past three decades. But it still hasn’t met the demand properly.

The containers cannot match the growth in production as consumer demand has outpaced supply. This has led to overuse and limited advantage accruing for transporters. During the period 1970 to date, the market opportunity has no doubt increased in terms of volumes and varieties. But the technical changes accomplished in the container industry still lag! This degrades the life of existing ones and puts pressure on transporters.

International issues

Inter-nation transportation has its problems, but the challenges in international shipments are at the next level. Even though with globalization, geographical mobility is achieved, but still there are many barriers to traverse.

There have been advances in political and economic agrees between nations, however, complete stability and reliability are yet to be achieved. Any change in relations or even a change of jurisdiction can cause trouble for transporters as they won’t be facilitated in any way. So this non-existent uniformity across borders adds to challenges faced by container shipment industries. Extensive paper works, toll tax, terminal handling charges, and other restrictions are not conducive to this industry.

As all political entities are not auspices for organized distribution, the system can crumble. If such controversies occur, the biggest burden will be on container shipments as they can be permanently stopped!

Increasing costs

Where there are possibilities of high-profit margin in this industry, the losses faced here are astronomical as well. This is because the cost can be abnormal and can increase in the blink of an eye. This can lead to unpredicted challenges leading to huge losses that can bankrupt you.

From vehicle license fee, insurance cost, and maintenance cost to levied pursuant for government, fines, and middle party remunerations, everything can add up to cost. With inflation and unprecedented changes in the economy, a profit can transform into loss easily.

Loading and unloading

Handling is a common problem, for any form of transportation. For normal products, it is linked to damage caused in between the journey. But for a container, the critical aspect is loading and unloading. As they are normally huge, it becomes quite difficult to load and unload them. Manpower is required and even supports of cranes are needed in some cases. So to oversee such shipments so that no damage is caused to containers or anything nearby can be quite challenging. Thus extreme care has to be exercised when conducting these crucial actions.

Space issues

It is falsely assumed that containers are always on the go and don’t need storage space. There might be tremendous growth of up to 80-85 % in the use of containers since 1975. But still, for management and planning purposes, containers are kept idle at some time or other. For this purpose, huge spaces are required which can be quite challenging to find and pay for. Moreover, these spaces need to be close to transportation sites which adds to difficulties. These containers cannot be placed anywhere or they add up to maintenance and carriage cost.

Improper documentation

In any form of transportation, documents are crucial for a safe journey. Like a passport is required for human migration, similarly, certificates and legal papers are required for containers. So it becomes very challenging without a proper legal team to envisage the mountain of documentation. From bill lading, certificates to licenses, any sort of document can be required. Any omissions or errors can lead to heavy fines or seizing of containers. So ensuring all documentation is up to par becomes a trial for many transporters.


So the verdict is that you should be aware of what goes behind the transportation of containers. It might look all shiny from afar but when you look closely you will discover that all that shines require a lot of hard work! That is why before proceeding from now onward or underestimating transporters, contemplate on the problems this particular shipping industry faces. Give it due importance as it is a vital part of every economy and is essential for trade.

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