A cargo ready date is typically indicated in the booking request from the shipper. The shipper is typically responsible for indicating the projected readiness of the cargo based on several factors such as the manufacturing process, internal logistics arrangement and estimated time of departure (ETD).

The cargo ready date (CRD) refers to the indicated date that a shipper (manufacturer or exporter) is making their cargo available for pickup, which is arranged by the trucker or freight forwarder. 

To further understand the importance of a cargo ready date, this article will take a deep dive into some of the export processes and how shippers and freight forwarders plan around this date.

Why Is It Important to Indicate the Cargo Ready Date?

It’s important for shipper’s to indicate a cargo ready date, as this will allow the trucker or freight forwarder to plan when a cargo can be picked up from the shipper’s premise. 

Container movement at origin is a complex task, as the container would need to be picked up from the container yard (Carrier’s CY), and delivered to the shipper, so that it can be stuffed on the date that cargo is ready. 

If a container is delivered too late, the shipper’s warehouse may end up being congested. This is because the cargo will be placed on the staging area, which can hold back other shipments.

On the other hand, if it’s delivered too early, the container and the trailer have to be parked at the premise, which can incur detention and demurrage charges. 

Therefore, it’s important to indicate a cargo ready date, so that the container delivery can be arranged in a timely and accurate manner. 

Where and When to Indicate the Cargo Ready Date?

Through demand and supply planning, the shipper or manufacturer is able to estimate when a particular cargo is ready to be picked up. To formalize their intention to export they will send an initial proforma or booking request to their freight forwarder or carrier and coordinate the next sailing date. 

A reliable freight forwarder will always have an updated schedule on hand for a shipper to use. When the forwarder receives the booking request, the shipper would indicate the desired estimated time of departure (ETD), based on the available sailings.  

At the same time the shipper places the booking to the freight forwarder, they will indicate the requested cargo ready date. 

As the freight forwarder now has the desired ETD date and the cargo ready date, they can arrange the container pickup from the depot and delivery to the shipper’s premises accordingly. 

In scenarios where a shipper is dealing directly with shipping lines, they would typically engage their own trucking company and will arrange the cargo to be picked up on the cargo ready date accordingly 

Who Is Responsible for Indicating the Cargo Ready Date?

Typically, it’s the shipper (often the seller, supplier or manufacturer) who will know when the cargo will be ready. A company would have its logistics team or supply and demand department determine the readiness of the goods. 

Based on the sailing schedule, the shipper may also coordinate a target ETD in coordination with the consignee’s readiness to accept the goods taking into account its supply chain at the destination country. 

In essence, the party who is responsible for indicating the cargo ready date is the party who is placing the booking, making the cargo available for pickup and who is loading the cargo into the container.

How Do You Know When a Cargo Is Ready?

A cargo can be considered ready, when it’s available for pickup and all outstanding tasks have been completed. Here are some of the tasks that indicate whether a cargo is ready: 

  • Availability – the cargo is ready and has been moved from warehouse storage onto the staging area that is located in front of the loading bay. This ensures that minimal time is required to move the cargo into the empty container.
  • Packaging – the items are packaged for seaworthy conditions and that a quality assurance check has been done to indicate that all cargo are in good condition
  • Documentation – all documentation such as packing lists are completed for the warehousing team to arrange container stuffing. The final packing list and invoice is usually generated after the container has been sealed.
  • Arrangement – the cargo ready date has been communicated to the trucker or freight forwarder to supply the empty container and to deliver it to the port upon stuffing. 

As you can see, there are certain tasks that should be completed before ensuring that a cargo is ready. Tasks that are not completed beforehand could delay the container pickup and delivery process. 

The cargo ready date is indicated before these requirements have been met and through experience a shipper will be able to estimate this relatively precisely.

Cargo Readiness Date Example

To further understand the importance of cargo readiness, here’s an example of a shipper appointing its forwarder to book a 1 x 40’HC container from Port of Los Angeles to the Manila North Harbor using a door-to-port service. 

The freight forwarder or carrier will usually provide a sailing schedule to the shipper to select a desired estimated departure date. 

The shipper will check the transit time and match the nearest ETD according to their requirements (when the cargo is ready + when they need the cargo to arrive).

Here is how a sailing schedule would look like:

PVCS ServiceFeeder ServiceTotal Transit Time
POL: Los Angeles
Vessel: OOCL Texas V001w
ETD: March 1, 2021
ETA: March 16, 2021
POL: Kaohsiung 
Vessel: OOCL Dream v010s
ETD: March 19, 2021
ETA: March 21, 2021
20 Days
POL: Los Angeles
Vessel: OOCL Seattle V001w
ETD: March 8, 2021
ETA: March 23, 2021
POL: Kaohsiung
Vessel OOCL Dream v010s
ETD: March 26, 2021
ETA: March 29, 2021
20 Days

The shipper will then initiate an booking request to the carrier or freight forwarder, indicating several important details that are required to arrange the shipment (such as the cargo ready date)

Here is how a Booking Request would look like (with indicated Cargo Ready Date):

Shippers Name /AddressMaximum Grocers International 123 Ash Street CA 11111
Tel No: 916-222-3333
Cargo Weight / CBMKGS 18,721.4 / 45.00  CBM
Consignee Name / AddressSuperstore Philippines Inc. / 234 Buyers Avenue, Makati City, Philippines Tel No: 23651234ETD / Vessel Name / POL: Los Angeles
POD: Manila North Harbor
March 1, 2021 / OOCL Texas V. 001W
Notify PartySame as consigneeContainer Size / Quantity and Kind of Packages1×40’HC STC Mixed Groceries 2559 units
Shipping InstructionsCargo ready on: February 27, 2021 8:00am – 5:00pm PIC Jeff 

From the table above you can see that Maximum Grocers International needs a 1 x 40HC said to contain 2,559 units of mixed groceries with a gross weight 18,721.40 kg.  

The required service is Port of Los Angeles to Port of Manila with an estimated departure date March 1, 2021. 

The cargo will be ready for pickup at the shipper’s warehouse anytime from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on February 27th, 2021. This date refers to the cargo ready date and allows the freight forwarder to plan the container pickup and delivery accordingly. 

In closing, the cargo delivery date is an important indicator provided by the shipper on when the cargo is ready for pickup. Freight forwarders and trucking companies require the CRD to arrange container pickup at depot and delivery to port in a timely and accurate manner. 

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Gerrit Poel

Co-Founder & Writer
at freightcourse

About the Author

Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.

As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.