Every day, millions of tons of goods and materials travel on huge container ships to and from distant ports all over the world. The numbers of international container shipping lanes on a map of the world shows a mind-boggling number of lines, each of which will have dozens of vessels at sea at any given time. How does an industry of such a massive scale work? A look at how a single container to Chile carrying a small load of household goods shows just how remarkably well orchestrated the industry is.
Let's take an imaginary scenario as an example. A single businessman is suddenly transferred from his headquarters in Seattle to a position in Santiago. He knows he will be there for several years, so he decides to rent his two bedroom condo and ship his personal goods in a container to Chile.
The first thing he does is contact a number of container freight companies to get comparative container shipping quotes. Already he finds he has a problem. Does he need to ship 20 ft container or does he need to ship 40 ft container? The container shipping companies all agree that the 20 foot length will probably suffice for the contents of a 2 bdrm condo, but just to be sure, he uses a container shipping calculator to determine that everything will fit into the 8'X20'X8.5', 1170 cubic foot container.
They will fit. This is good news, because he has so much to do before leaving, he will not have time to pack his belongings himself. The container freight companies have all assured him that they offer Full Service and will pack his personal goods in sturdy cardboard boxes for him. Better yet, they will deliver his 20 foot container directly to his door, stuff it and then deliver it to a warehouse near the port of departure for him. He can then go about his business and fly to Santiago whenever he needs to.
After assertaining the level of service he requires, the businessman gets his container shipping quotes and makes his decision based on price and the reputation of the container freight companies. One company costs a little more than another, but he decides he can trust his container to Chile with this international container shipping company because it has working relationships with other container freight companies in that country.
The businessman is given a Shipping Order (S/O) that includes the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). He is urged to keep track of the progress of his container to Chile, because if it arrives early and he is not there to claim it, it may be subject to extra costs. If it does not arrive when expected, he can find the vessel's location online and find out when it is expected to finally reach its destination.
Finally, his personal goods arrive in their container to Chile. His contact in Chile helps him through customs, loads his container onto the back of a truck and drives it to his new home in Santiago. The whole process has gone as smooth as silk. His container to Chile is unpacked at his new apartment and he feels right at home again.
There are 10 Container Ports in Chile: Port of Antofagasta, Port of Arica, Port of Bahia Posesion, Port of Caldera, Port of Caleta Barquito, Port of Coquimbo, Port of Easter Island, Port of Iquique, Port of Lirquen, Port of Mejillones