Container Loading Supervision: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you’re in the import and export business, you have probably come across this freight term container loading supervision.

This guide will answer all questions you have been asking about container loading supervision.

Let’s dive right in.

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What is Container Loading Supervision?

 Container loading supervision

Container loading supervision

Container Loading Supervision is a service offered by an independent supervision company. It usually takes place at the manufacturer or exporter premises.

It takes place before your goods load onto the shipping container.

The supervision company will send their qualified inspector to your manufacturer/supplier.

The qualified personnel will inspect your goods for quality and quantity—your cargo ferries from the warehouse to the container without breakages and damage.

Inspector does a last check to ensure every load makes it to the container. He will then witness the loading of the container to ensure the correct loading plan is used.

Finally, he will oversee the container’s sealing to avoid theft or loss of goods before shipping.

Why do you need Container Loading Supervision?

You need container loading supervision to inspect your good’s quality and quantity.

You will protect yourself from receiving defective goods and avoid losses due to damage and theft of goods.

The CLS ensures the use of correct packaging material. He sees that export cartons are not wet or old.

You may request your supplier to pack goods in plastic wraps or pallets. Or, if they are fragile, you may ask them packed in inflatable bags.

The container loading supervision team ensures the supplier meets your order request. Your cargo arrives on time and safe. He sends you a report of the entire process.

When should you consider Container Loading Supervision service during International Shipping?

You should consider container loading supervision during international shipping for several reasons.

These are:

  • Language barrier between you and your supplier: you need a local expert to help manage your shipment and avoid miscommunication.
  • Lack of experience on your part: if you are a new-to-China importer, you need a company that is familiar with the sourcing and shipping process to help you.

Usually, losses occur due to poor packaging and loading of goods. It is best to have an expert on the ground to oversee your goods’ packaging and loading. This will help save you money, time, and resources.

  • You may not have the time to be present during loading: you need a company representing your interest when you are away.
  • Extra expense: traveling to the warehouse may be expensive. Airfare, transfer cost from the airport to the warehouse, accommodation, and meals. This may end up increasing the cost per item.
  • When importing fragile goods: when you are dealing with fragile items, the packaging is critical. So consider container loading supervision to avoid breakages during packaging and loading of the goods.
  • You have specific loading requirements and need the supplier/manufacturer to meet them: hire a CLS company to oversee that the supplier complies with your requests.
  • Dealing with a new supplier: hiring a CLS cushions you from con suppliers.
  • Shipping to a retailer or another client: if you are acting as a trading company or agent, your client will be the first person to open the container. Your customer’s satisfaction when they receive the proper consignment in perfect condition. It helps you maintain that client.
  • When importing over-size or Industrial Items: consider CLS services when you ship items that are massive or bulky. For instance, for industrial equipment or motor vehicles, container loading supervision is essential.

CLS tracks the entire loading and transportation process. Use hoist points well, secure all machinery on transit. Then treat equipment to protect against corrosion during sea travel. They oversee merchandise handling from the factory to the forwarder/shipper.

How does Container Loading Supervision Work?

Container loading supervision often occurs when you want to ensure that the supplier ships the correct goods with the right loading plan.

As earlier mentioned, this supervision is done after the final inspection of goods, and it usually includes two steps:

Step 1: Count the whole Quantity, Open some Cartons and do a Fast Check on the Goods

Firstly, the inspector from the CLS will inspect your goods for quality and quantity.  He will also inspect the export packaging boxes to ensure they are new, dry, and without creases.

All this requires the opening of some boxes and performing random checks for conformity.

Step 2:  Supervise the Loading of Cartons in the Container

CLS inspector then supervises the loading of cargo.

He will count all boxes in the container to ensure all your cargo goes onto the shipping container.

Loaders disperse the weight of the goods throughout the container making sure that they use the space well.

He secures your cargo to avoid accidents and damages to the goods. Ships can roll up to 30 degrees in rough seas because of gravity and inertia.

The loaders park everything as per your contractual specifications. Inspector then supervises the sealing of the container.

You will receive a report of all the loading activity from the supervising company

How is Container Loading calculated?

The manufacturer packs your goods either in boxes, pallets, or bags. They also park according to your specifications, if any.

A shipping container’s capacity is determined by its cubic measurement and most cargo weight it can carry—the container’s internal capacity measures in cubic feet.

To calculate container capacity, follow these steps:

  • Multiply the internal size of the container (the inside length, height, and width)
  • Calculate your freight well. This is to maximize the amount of cargo container ships and to avoid a shortage of space.
  • Get the container’s total cubic feet (interior length, width, height) and weight. This helps you to know if your cargo will fit in the container.

Shipping container specifications

 Shipping container specifications

Next, proceed to calculate your load following these steps:

Different Box Sizes

Multiply the length, width, and height of each box (length x width x height). Then add the total figures. This will give you the total cubic feet of all the boxes.

Same Box Size

Multiply (length x width x height) for one box, then multiply by the total number of boxes (quantity).  This simplifies your calculations.

If you have goods in plastic barrels, measure each size barrel’s diameter, height, and weight. Add the calculation to get the total cubic feet for the barrels.

Goods on Free-Form Packaging Bags

Multiply their length, width, and height to determine the cubic feet of each sack. If all bags have the exact measurements, multiply by their quantity.

For varying size bags, attempt to group the exact sizes to save time. If all the bags in the load vary in size, calculate using the formula for each bag. Add the cubic feet’ total for each bag to get the total cubic feet for the bags.


For this, you will need to let the loaded bags stand on the floor and then measure the width and length.

Next, measure the height of each bag (If they are of different sizes).  And finally, add the total cubic feet for each cargo category (boxes, barrels, and bags). This gives you the total cubic feet of goods to load in a container.

Cargo Wrapped in Dunnage

Dunnage is padding placed between cargo items to ensure their safety during transit. Take the volume measurements of the item after wrapping.

This prevents mistakes when calculating exactly how many items the container will hold.

Please, do not exceed the container’s max weight rating.

Who can Benefit from Container Loading Supervision?

CLS is beneficial to anyone who wants to ensure safe and proper loading and shipping of goods.

It is beneficial for new-to-China importers who want to feel confident in the shipping process.

Those shipping fragile/overly sensitive items can also benefit from this service as such goods require more complicated/detailed loading plans.

How does Container Loading Supervision benefit Importers?

Container loading supervision benefits importers in the following ways:

It Saves you Time and Money

Container loading supervision service saves you time and money. Traveling to the manufacturer yourself could be expensive.

You have to pay for air tickets, accommodation, transfer fees from and to the airport, which may increase the cost per item.

While shipping from China, you may also have different suppliers producing your order.

CLS is necessary to ensure the last supplier has all the parts needed to assemble your final product.

You get a detailed report of the entire process observed by the inspector of the company you hired. It helps you do early intervention in case it’s required.

This also helps to prevent shipping delays.

Quality Assurance

Your cargo takes several days or weeks to get to you. You do not want to wait for your consignment and receive goods you did not order or damaged goods.

CLS ensures your goods are of the same quality as per the contractual agreement.

The quantity that you ordered is what you will receive. Goods arrive in excellent condition.

Inspector checks the container quality. CLS also inspects the handling of goods during loading.

Generally, CLS makes sure the cargo that gets to you is what you ordered.

They check the status of the container (inside and outside). No Leakages, debris, insects, moisture, and mildew.

It checks for sharp objects like nails and other protruding items and general cleanliness.

Prevents Scams

The third party protects you from unscrupulous suppliers who might take advantage of your absence.

Such suppliers may package your goods in less quantity. Some may decide to deliver empty containers to you.

The involvement of a CLS company keeps you protected from such.

Peace of Mind

You get peace of mind. Your consignment will get to you in its intended quality and quantity.

If there is a language barrier between you and your supplier, the CLS will bridge the gap.

Allows for a Smooth Customs Clearance Process

The documentation issued by the loading supervision company provides information for customs clearance. This allows for the correct assessment of import duties and taxes.

When does Container Loading Supervision take place?

This happens before the manufacturer/seller loads your goods into a shipping container.

It takes place at the factory or your forwarder’s premises. The purpose is to supervise the entire loading process.

What are the Primary Checks Performed during a Container Loading Supervision?

The primary checks performed during a container loading supervision include:

  • Noting the exact time the container arrives at the manufacturer’s premises
  • CLS assesses the internal and external conditions of the shipping container.

Supervisors check for cleanliness, holes, and cracks. They examine leaks, moisture, mildew, odor, debris, insects, and sharp objects that may damage the goods during shipping.

When loading, the container has to be dry and clean, this is what CLS ensures.

  • Checks on the quality of the goods marking against contractual specifications.
  • Inspecting the condition of the export cartons used for packaging. They should be dry, clean, and without folds and/or creases. This ensures stacks do not collapse on-board.
  • Sampling of various packaging to ensure the exact numbers packed per box
  • Correct labeling of the boxes. Include item description, style, color, size, quantity, net weight, gross weight, etc.
  • Counting the boxes to confirm their match with the client’s/buyer sale order
  • Ensure that the container loading is done with care, especially in fragile goods such as glasses.
  • Ensure proper sealing of the container

What are the Essential Factors to Consider when Loading a Container?

Essential factors to consider when loading a container are:

Choosing the Correct Container for your Cargo

Different types of shipping container

Different types of shipping containers

The nature of the cargo transported spells out what type of container is appropriate for use. Consider factors such as weight of load, size, and the type of goods you are transporting.

Have Enough Lighting

The area where loading is taking place should be well lit. If you are loading during the day, take advantage of natural lighting.

If the natural lighting is not enough, though, you need to have alternative lighting. Ensure that the area is sufficiently lit. This prevents accidents and helps you to avoid errors.

Position the Container during Loading

Place it in a way that makes it easy to load and away from mud and dirt.

Check the Condition of the Container

Your container should be clean, both on the inside and outside. It should be dry, free of cracks and leaks, moisture, debris.

Check protruding nails, odor, insects, and mildew.

Ensure the door locks are closing well and get the serial number of the container for reference.

Condition of the Export Packaging Boxes

Make sure the export package boxes are new, dry, and do not have creases or folds.

Label them well—state item descriptions, style, color, quantity in the box, net, and gross weight.

Proper Packaging of Cargo

Park your items so that nothing is loose.

Check that all Cargo gets in the Container

Look through your inventory list and see everything loads.

Follow Proper Loading Plan

Load large, heavy cargo and non-fragile items first. Place them on the floor against the container’s front wall. Place lighter items on top.

Place the boxes against each other throughout the container. This secures the load and ensures their safety. Cover the entire area, leaving no empty spaces.

Consider Time and Distance to the Port when Scheduling Loading Time and Date

The cargo needs to get to the port before it closes and make it to the load time.

If your shipment gets to port late, you may incur extra charges. Avoid storing the container overnight and the additional days of chassis use.

Other considerations for loading a shipping container are:

  • Use bubble wraps generously to protect your cargo
  • Ensure you disperse the weight throughout the container
  • Avoid complacency to hazardous material
  • Tie your items to prevent back-and-forth movements which could cause them unnecessary damage
  • Do not exceed the maximum container payload.

What is Container Load Plan?

Containe rloading plan

 Sample container loading plan

A container load plan is a document that shows details of all cargo loaded in a shipping container. It shows the weight (individual and total).

It also indicates markings, measurement, exporter’s details, and consignee’s details.

The document also indicates the origin and destination of wares and the consignment’s location in the container.

When you load the consignment right, you enjoy a lower cost of shipping from china. That’s because sea carriers charge for transportation per container.

If, for instance, you pay $2,000 to ship a 40-ft box, that price remains the same; whether you fill the box with 15 pallets of goods or 28 pallets.

So, the more consignment you fit in, the less it will cost you per unit.

What is the ISO Container Loading Checklist, and What does it Entail?

An ISO container loading checklist is a set of guidelines for checking the container’s quality before loading goods in it.

This is per ISO guidelines and to avoid unforeseen cargo damage and product loss.

You should inspect the container when it is empty or before the goods load onto the container.

The ISO checklist entails:

  • Ensuring proper and clear labeling of the container
  • Inspecting the roof against ISO numbers. Inspect top-end rail, corner fittings, roof panels, topside rail, and light leaks.
  • Checking door hinges, guttering, linings, placard holder, gaskets, corner posts, and fittings.
  • Examining the threshold plate, floor fasteners, light leaks, spills, and tie-down devices. Inspect if there are uneven or loose floorboards, splinter, and breakages.

See that the floor is clean, dry, and free from odor, mildew, stains, etc.

  • Looking at the Plywood lining, kick rail, horizontal rail, vertical plate, and light leak. Also, inspect for holes and leaks, mildew, and stains.
  • Performing a front Inspection. ISO requires that you check the plywood lining, load-bearing surfaces, and kick plate and light leaks.

What is a Container Loading Supervision Inspection Certificate?

A container loading supervision certificate is a quality document.

An independent body like ISO issues it to the supervising company. This is to show competence in the service they are offering you.

Is Container Loading Supervision Certificate the same as Container Loading Supervision Report?

Container loading supervision report

 Container loading supervision report


An independent body provides a CLS certificate to the inspecting company.

It is a written assurance that the service meets specific requirements.

It shows that the CLS Company has a practical and quality management system in place.

On the other hand, a container loading supervision report contains details of the entire loading process.

It shows that the supervisor ensured the quality and quantity of goods during loading.

The report also ascertains that the correct loading plan was followed.

What Information does Container Loading Supervision Report include?

A container loading supervision report will include:

  • The weather condition on the loading day
  • Time the container arrives at the manufacturer’s premises
  • Condition of the shipping container; both interior and exterior
  • Quality, quantity, and weight of the cargo parked Condition of the export packing boxes
  • Correct and careful loading of your consignment onto the container
  • Serial number of the container shipping your consignment
  • Photos of the entire loading process

What is the Difference Between Container Loading Supervision and Container Unloading Supervision?

Container loading supervision takes place at the manufacturer’s premises.

This is the loading of your goods onto the container for shipping. Cargo is inspected from the warehouse until they load onto the container.

Container unloading supervision is inspecting your cargo offloading from the container. This happens when the shipping container arrives at your last destination.

What Types of Products do you Control during Container Loading Supervision?

In a CLS, we have control of only those products on the order list.

This is per the contractual agreement. You also have control of the shipping container.

Note, however, that we can manage all kinds of goods as a container loading supervision service provider.

Whether it is clothing, textiles, machinery, electronics, electricals, etc., we can handle it all.

We have the requisite knowledge and expertise to supervise a wide range of goods in China.

What are the Limits of Container Loading Supervision?

The limits of container loading supervision include staying within the agreement.

This means complying with what you signed for with the supplier.

Also, CLS is not an alternative to product inspection.

You can only use CLS to confirm your product’s quality because, at this point, nothing can be repaired. Unless if you decide to suspend the whole shipment.

Which Standards are followed during Container Loading Supervision?

Standards followed during CLS include:

  • ISO (International Organization Standards)
  • ANSI/ASQCZ1.4 (Sampling Tables for Inspection and Procedures)
  • BS6001 (Sampling Procedures for Inspection by attributes) DIN40080 (Sampling procedures and tables for inspection by attributes)
  • NFX06-022 (Sampling by statistics [counting non-conforming items per unit])
  • EC 17020 (Certification for competence for bodies/companies performing supervision). It will show you the company’s consistency and impartiality in the inspection at any stage.

What happens after a Container Loading Supervision has been carried out?

Container loading

 Container loading

Once all checks are complete, the CLS inspector seals the container. This is proof of compliance. It also protects your goods from theft.

The inspector prepares a report showing the entire loading process to you. He then hands the container over to your forwarder/shipper.

What is the Benefit of Hiring a Third Party to supervise your Container Loading?

There are multiple benefits of hiring a third party to supervise your container loading.

  • Third-party is unbiased. Therefore they represent your interests fully, without being compromised.
  • They are professionals and experts in the loading field
  • Such supervisors are efficient, having been in the area for a long time
  • They save you time and money

What is Container Loading Supervision Rates?

Container loading supervision rates are the amounts you pay to the supervising company. These rates vary for different companies.

They will charge you either per single container or per man-day. Price will range from $100 – $300 (All-inclusive). And it is different for different companies.

It is essential to get quotations from various companies. Your budget and the services the company will offer help you make an informed decision.

What are the acceptable Payment Methods for Container Loading Supervision Services?

Acceptable paying methods include:

  • PayPal
  • T/T (Telegraphic money Transfer)
  • Direct bank transfer

Choose a payment method according to your and the provider’s convenience.

How long does Container Loading Supervision take?

Container loading supervision begins when the CLS inspector arrives at the manufacturer /warehouse.

It will end when he forwards the loaded container over to the forwarder/shipper.

The exact time may depend on the amount of cargo you have. Loading one container will take one day.

Who is responsible for Damages and loss of Goods during Container Loading Supervision?

CLS company handles the damages and losses that happen during the supervision.

Sometimes accidents happen during the loading process.

After the CLS inspector has verified goods from the manufacturer, the supervision company takes care of the loss and damages.

Insure your goods for any eventuality.

How do you identify and track Shipping Container during a Container Loading Supervision?

This is how you identify and track shipping container during loading supervision:


  • Check the owner code on the container. It comprises three capital letters that identify the container owner.
  • Product group code. It’s a single capital letter that appears after the owner code Serial Number (Registration No.), a sequence of 6 digit numbers.
  • Check digit. This is a single digit for cross-verifying the accuracy of the identification sequence. Usually, it is boxed and separate. It stands out from the registration number. Type and size code. A sequence containing 4 letters appearing under the identification sequence of a container.

Tracking a Shipping Container:

Use the container number to track the container. It is four letters (owner code) followed by a six-digit serial number plus a check digit. Example: ABCD1234567.

The owner code shows the company to which the shipping container belongs to.

What are the Risks of Not Having a Proper Container Loading Supervision?

You risk the following for not having proper container loading supervision:

  • Receiving the wrong quality or/and quantity cargo
  • Cargo arriving while already damaged. Due to improper packaging and mishandling during loading.
  • An empty container is delivered to you if the supplier is a con.
  • Having issues at the customs if your supplier does not label cargo well, e.g., your shipment lacks a certificate of origin, no ingredients labels, weight not showed, etc.
  • Your luggage arriving late/ delays
  • Losing clients if you are a and goods arrive at them in defect or damaged

How do you choose a Quality Container Loading Supervision Service?

You want a professional, honest, non-biased, and efficient company to represent your interests.

To get a quality supervision service, consider asking for a referral from other importers to choose an excellent company.

You may also review comments and feedback left on several providers’ webpage or the internet for review.  Make the ultimate choice based on your findings.

When hiring a company, ensure that you choose a company that has been on the job for longer. This is because they will have more experience.

Also, choose a CLS company that has a quality certificate issued by a reputable organization like ISO.

This gives you confidence that the service you receive meets specific qualifications. An example of such a certificate is ISO 9001 certificate.

Depending on your specific needs and requirements, BanSar offers a complete shipping solution from China.

Contact us now for competitive prices on all your logistics operations.

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