CY (Container Yard) vs. CFS (Container Freight Station)
When working with a freight forwarder, there are a number of different container service options that you need to be familiar with to ensure you get the service you expect. To do this, there are 2 terms you should familiarize yourself with: CY and CFS. CY means Container Yard and CFS means Container Freight Station.
When a freight forwarder is giving you a quote, they will typically want to know if you want "door to door" service or if you want the goods to arrive at the destination port only, where you would be responsible to move the goods from the port to your final location.
CY/CY (CY to CY) Container Service
CY/CFS (CY to CFS) Container Service
This is considered "door to port" service. Just like CY to CY, your container is packed at the shipper's location and sometimes at the actual freight forwarder's location, depending on your agreement. However, at the destination side, your container is emptied at the carrier's container freight station. It is your responsibility as the consignee to take this loose cargo and move it from the destination port to your final location, whether that be a warehouse, distribution center, retail location, etc.
CFS/CY (CFS to CY) Container Service
This is considered "port to door" service. You would use this service if your factory will deliver loose cargo, or cargo in a container that is not the final shipping container to the port. Your freight forwarder will then pack the goods into the shipping container. At the destination side, your cargo will be delivered in that container to your final location.
CFS/CFS (CFS to CFS) Container Service
This is considered "port to port" service. In this case, cargo will be delivered loose to the shipping port, packed into the container by the freight forwarder, and unpacked at the destination port. The consignee (you) are responsible for arranging pickup of the cargo at the destination port and moving it to your final location.
Understanding these services will go a long way to ensuring you receive the service you are expecting. Many companies that are new to importing do not always understand their responsibilities at the destination port. In particular, if you're using a CY/CFS or CFS/CFS container service, you need to understand how long you have at the destination port to pickup your cargo before fees begin to accumulate. You also need to make sure you know what it will take to physically take ownership of your cargo to make sure you have the right equipment prepared.