Merchant’s Haulage

What is Merchant's Haulage?

Merchant's Haulage: The customer organizes the pre- and onward carriage of the container

When it comes to handling large quantities and delivering them to their respective destinations, sea freight is the measure of all things. The costs for shipping by sea are summarized as ocean shipping costs, which are significantly lower than those for air freight. In addition, the handling of shipping companies' own containers differs, which is already clear from the term merchant's haulage.

proLogistik explains the background and shows the difference to Carrier's Haulage, the counterpart in the form of a handling form.

Definition of merchant's haulage: What does the term stand for and what does it mean for the shipper?

When we look at container traffic, it is mainly landside transport sections that are important. The forwarding agent is normally responsible for the entire organization of the transport. This applies to the following scenarios:

  • Pre-carriage, i.e. the transportation of the containers to the respective seaport
  • On-carriage, i.e. the transportation of all goods from the seaport to the actual recipient

Important: Merchant's Haulage is a contractual clause that states that the merchant, in his capacity as shipper and/or consignee, is responsible for pre- and on-carriage - including the associated costs. The logistics service provider limits itself to the main activity, i.e. sea transportation (so-called main leg).

Merchant's Haulage versus Carrier's Haulage: What are the differences?

The handling of all important transport stages is crucial, also in view of the relevance of deadline pressure, customs formalities and the like. This is where the cost factor associated with the respective transportation of containers is decided. Merchant's haulage puts the freight forwarder in a position to offer these below the relevant prices for carrier's haulage. One of the reasons for this is that more free time is available, which can be used for round trips, for example. With appropriate planning, it is possible to optimize the transport process accordingly.

In order to better illustrate this aspect, it is important to know and classify the basic features of Carrier's Haulage. Here are the essentials in a nutshell:

  • Carrier's Haulage is a form of contract in landside container freight transportation which states that the shipping company is responsible for all aspects of the transport chain. This includes pre-run, main run and post-run. As the sender or recipient, typically the retailer, certain deadlines must be met. This means that the corresponding goods are only available for acceptance or provision free of charge within a relatively short time window. The shipowner often acts as an overall service provider, which has the advantage of earning a higher profit share from additional services. This goes hand in hand with a generally higher utilization of the shipping company's own containers.

In short: Merchant's Haulage as a form of organization is equally suitable for Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL). It offers retailers the opportunity to use their own structures and thereby achieve advantages - both organizationally and economically.

Concluding remarks on Merchant's Haulage

All steps from the sender to logistics handling and transhipment are coordinated as part of the pre-carriage. The main run then includes transportation through to logistics handling by the recipient. The actual delivery of all shipments, on the other hand, is referred to as on-carriage.

Merchant's Haulage enables forwarding customers to organize pre- and on-carriage in their own way and thus achieve cost advantages.


Logistik-Lexikon Merchants Haulage
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