Introduction: An Inland Container Depot / Container Freight Station may be defined as a common user facility with public authority status equipped with fixed installations which offers services for handling and storage of import/export laden and empty containers carried under control of Customs and other agencies competent to clear goods for home use, warehousing, temporary admissions, re-export, temporary storage for onward transit and outright export. Transshipment of cargo can also take place from such stations. An ICD is called an Inland Container Terminal or Off-dock or Dry Port.



The private off-docks of our country are at present concerned with the following activities:


  1. Empty Storage and Handling
  2. Export Cargo Storage and Stuffing.
  3. Import Cargo Handling


Empty Storage and Handling: The off-docks store empty container owned by Main Line Operators i.e. MLOs. The empty containers are stored and then dispatched to CPA for shipment or are used for stuffing as required.

Export Cargo Storage and Stuffing: Almost all the off-docks have their Cargo Freight Station (CFS) to store export cargo. The export cargo handled by off-docks includes mainly ready-made garments, jute and jute product, coil, steel and others. The export cargo comes from the shippers’ premises, gets unloaded at the CFS, consolidated and stored. Later the cargo is stuffed into designated containers. After sealing the containers they are dispatched to CPA for final shipment.

Import Cargo Handling: At present the off-docks are handling 37 items of import cargo. The number is likely to increase in near future. The import cargo is received either from the vessel’s hook point or from port yard. Coming to off-docks the import laden containers are either devanned for delivery or directly delivered to the consignee.


Functions of ICDs/CFSs: The primary functions of ICD/CFS may be summed up as under:

  1. Receipt and dispatch/delivery of cargo.
  2. Stuffing and stripping of containers.
  3. Transit operations by rail/road to and from serving ports.
  4. Customs clearance.
  5. Consolidation and desegregation of cargo.
  6. Temporary storage of cargo and containers.
  7. Reworking of containers.
  8. Maintenance and repair of container units.