Cross-hauls, are simply the movement of empty containers from depot to depot, depot to terminal, or terminal to depot.

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Why do container operators cross-haul containers?

  1. Depot To Depot – Sometimes for packing requirements that can only be done at a specific depot. Shipping lines who wish to off-hire containers back to the relevant leasing companies, need to do so at the licensed depots used by those leasing companies. Likewise, sale containers or containers earmarked for conversion, are cross-hauled from the depot where they were purchased, to the depots where the client has a contract for handling and storage.
  2. Terminal To Depot – (Import Containers Empty) Shipping lines often bring empty containers in from other surplus stocked coastal ports, to supplement local supply.
  3. Depot To Terminal – (Export Containers Empty) Shipping lines also need to repatriate surplus empty containers to overseas destinations that have a shortage. Sometimes these containers are of a certain size and type, e.g. 12m Flat Racks (40’ FR), or 6m Open Tops (20’ OT).

NB: In South Africa, we refer to 6m GP (General Purpose) and 12m GP. However, the generally accepted jargon for this type of equipment elsewhere in the world is 20’ DV (Dry Van) and 40’ DV.

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