TLIA3004 – Assess and plan container/cargo consolidation Copy

TLIA3004 – Assess and plan container/cargo consolidation Copy


Element 2: Assess and plan container/cargo consolidation

2.1 – Yard or terminal plans are assessed and consolidation of container/cargo within the yard or terminal is planned as required

2.2 – Consolidation plans are prepared to ensure efficiency of operations and efficient use of available yard/terminal space

By the end of this chapter, the learner will be able to:

  • List factors the yard or terminal plans may be assessed for
  • Prepare a consolidation plan to improve efficiency for at least five containers in the yard/terminal
  • Ensure it meets their organisation’s standards for consolidation plans.

Assessing plans

Yard or terminal plans need to meet a number of standards in order for them to operate properly. Therefore, they will need to be regularly assessed. Where flaws are identified, corrective action should be taken.

Plans may be assessed for:

Compliance with regulations or legislation

Safety, outlined in Workplace Health and Safety regulations


Completeness; gaps in information should be filled in as soon as possible



Opportunities to consolidate stock.

Other people in the workplace may be able to offer advice on how to assess individual plans and the standards that are required.

Consolidation of container/cargo

Consolidation is the practice of arranging cargo and containers so they take up less space. Multiple small containers may be placed inside larger ones, or containers that are transported together are stored near each other. This reduces costs and time, as bulk discounts will apply to single large containers rather than numerous smaller ones. Whether or not containers are full doesn’t affect the cost of transporting it; therefore, it makes sense to fill them as much as possible.

Consolidation software or programs can automatically calculate consolidation plans. They can handle hundreds of different data points in large storage areas far quicker than human brains.

Cargo can be consolidated with those of other exporters. These means companies don’t need to wait to fill a container individually before shipping it. However, the risk of this is that different types of cargo may contaminate each other (e.g. food and chemicals); therefore, restrictions should be set for each container regarding what it can carry. Proper lashing should also be used to prevent different types of cargo damaging each other. Also, pay attention to information provided by the exporter.

Consolidation plans may be based on:

  • Origins: Consolidating cargo or containers that came from the same place
  • Routes: Consolidating cargo or containers that don’t have the same origin or destination, but will use some of the same routes
  • Cost-effectiveness: Consolidating cargo or containers on based on cost.

Consolidation plans will need to include:

Previous location of cargo

New location of cargo

Type of cargo.

Once products are consolidated into orders, these will need to be further consolidated into final transport loads (as designated in work schedules). These will need to be organised by things such as destination, customer and priority.

For example, you may have a driver who delivers orders to customers on a southerly route, a driver who delivers on a northerly route, a driver who takes large loads by pallets, and a driver who delivers locally.

Drivers should be given adequate time to make their deliveries, with allowance to traffic flows and customer interactions. Schedules should accommodate driver hours and required rest breaks.

In some cases, there may be no possible consolidation plans that are profitable and aren’t considered risky; in these cases, the most efficient action would not to consolidate them.

(Sources: ‘Shipping and Freight Service Planning and Consolidation: 4 Approaches To Consider’, Descartes.‘Cargo consolidation’, Ghana Shipping Guide. )

2.3 – Final yard/terminal positions are obtained from consolidation plans and are recorded

By the end of this chapter, the learner will be able to:

  • Obtain the final positions for three pieces of cargo included in the consolidation plan
  • Record them according to organisation procedures.

Recording positions

All cargo needs to have its final position recorded once it has been moved. Therefore, you will need to use the consolidation plans filled in during the previous Chapter to record the new information.

You should:

  • Source the consolidation documents from the relevant people/places in your organisation
  • Identify changes made by the consolidation and plan and which cargo has been moved
  • Determine where the cargo is now being stored. This may include other container codes, stack numbers or yard location
  • Record the new locations of the cargo, using the information mentioned above
  • Repeat this process whenever cargo is moved or consolidated; positions may change multiple times.

When recording information, ensure you provide all required details and meet your organisation’s standards for clarity and accuracy.

An example of a consolidation plan which you could gather information from:

From this information, you would be able to identify where the five shipments heading to Sydney are located – in the container with the number CDLU8923841 – and record this appropriately. (The numbering systems used to identify containers will be covered in Chapter 4.2.)