Handling Rolled Cargo in Transportation and Logistics

Võ Thanh Trúc - 07/09/2023

What is Rolled Cargo and How to Handle It?

In the realm of transportation and logistics, the term "rolled cargo" holds significant importance, particularly in maritime freight transport. In this article, we will delve into the concept of rolled cargo, what it entails, and how to address such situations.

Rolled Cargo - Definition and Causes

What is rolled cargo?

When a shipper receives notification that their container has been "rolled", it indicates that the container wasn't loaded onto the ship as per the original schedule and will have to wait for the next voyage. Several factors lead to rolled cargo situations:

Causes of Rolled Cargo

Due to Shipping Lines:
1. Overbooking surpassing the ship's capacity, resulting in some bookings having to wait for another voyage.
2. Changes in port call schedules.

3. Insufficient loading capacity of the ship.
4. Technical malfunctions of the vessel.

Due to Shippers:
1. Goods arriving at the port too late, after the cut-off time.
2. Issues related to customs procedures, leading to a failure in clearing the cargo.
3. Documentation discrepancies related to the shipment.

Handling Rolled Cargo Scenarios

Scenario 1: Shipping Line Error

In this case, the shipping line will take the initiative to rearrange the earliest available voyage for you. They will inform you of the updated schedule via a Forwarded (FWD) booking (often through a new booking with updated information), and the FWD booking will update the latest schedule for the shipper.

Scenario 2: Procedural or Documentation Issues

Upon learning of the rolled cargo situation, the shipper should promptly contact the FWD booking to liaise with the shipping line and arrange a new voyage. Simultaneously, it's crucial to swiftly address any document-related issues to avoid further time and financial losses.

Mitigating Rolled Cargo Situations

1. Book the vessel as early as possible (1-2 weeks prior to departure): This allows ample time for preparation of documents and ensures smooth customs procedures.
2. Opt for flexible vessel schedules:This provides alternative options in case of rolled cargo incidents.
3. Avoid transportation during peak seasons or major holidays: Cargo is more likely to get rolled when vessels are overbooked, which often occurs during peak seasons.
4. Limit the use of transshipment: Prioritize direct or minimally transshipped routes. Containers transported on vessels with transshipment are more likely to experience rolling risks.

You can seek out a highly experienced forwarder in the industry to ensure a diverse range of sailing schedules and always have multiple departure time options, thus minimizing unforeseen risks that may occur.

Eimskip is a major player in Northern Europe with over a century of experience in maritime transportation, particularly in the field of refrigerated and frozen cargo. In Vietnam, we provide forwarding services with a globally consistent professional customer service, aiming to simplify processes and reduce complexities for our clients. Eimskip's Strengths:

- Specialization in refrigerated and frozen cargo maritime transportation.
- Expertise and knowledge in preserving and transporting perishable goods, ensuring your cargo arrives fresh after transit.
- Over 87% of long-standing clients prioritize Eimskip's services for refrigerated and frozen container transportation for over a decade.
- Priority contracts with major shipping lines such as ONE, CMA-CGA, etc., resulting in competitive rates and a diverse range of sailing schedules.


"Rolled cargo" refers to the situation where goods are not delivered or loaded onto a vehicle according to the initially planned schedule. This can occur due to various reasons. To handle such a situation, it is crucial to immediately contact the carrier or agent for the best solution. Additionally, consider the measures to limit this scenario in the future.

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