The Ultimate Guide to Devanning

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The Ultimate Guide to Devanning

When you are working in logistics, devanning is a term that comes up often. This service is of great help. When you start your business, especially then, it is always good to look out for new and innovative strategies. Even if you are doing good already, there is always room for improvement. One of the best ways to keep up with today’s fast-paced competition is to be precise and to always guarantee high quality. Because this will result in satisfied customers as well as a thriving business. For this, devanning is essential. Devanning is going to be thoroughly explained. To put it simply, in logistics it is the act of unloading cargo. In the following article, we are going to break this term down. We designed the following pages in a way to answer some of the most often asked questions. We hope it will be helpful. Once you understand what devanning exactly is, you will have an easy time knowing when you need it in your logistics operations. You can truly benefit from this if you know your way around it.

What is the Definition of Devanning?

Devanning in logistics refers to unloading the goods from a container. This could mean air or sea freight or even land shipping. The term is interchangeable with stuffing. This is also used to express the step of unloading something from cargo ships or land transport and air freights. FCLs (Full Container Loads) are devanned at the warehouse where the goods arrive always. Devanning is a meticulous operation. The unloading steps have to be conducted by highly efficient and well-trained crews. These teams need to understand what to do exactly based on the dimensions of the given shipment. Otherwise, goods could be damaged, delayed or lost. Devanning is of underlying importance in logistics.

How are Containers Devanned?

Devanning requires high levels of expertise. The steps of on and unloading goods from containers can be tricky. Not to mention the extreme value certain shipments can have. Means of freight are always used to their maximum capacity. Therefore it is necessary to use skills from experts to use up all available space. This step will save time and money for everyone involved in the given business transaction. If not done with expertise, devanning could result in damages, which would cost money and time for the company conducting the operation. Different cargo will also require different levels or types of skills. One method that could make it easier, safer, and cheaper to conduct devanning is palletizing your containers

Who Can Devann My Container?

The unloading process can be done only by staff that is well-trained and highly skilled. This is the special devanning crew that is trained specifically for this purpose. Once you order your goods, you, of course, expect them to come in good condition and on time. Devanning has a big part in this process. Nowadays, digital tools help a lot in making sure all goods are placed or unloaded from containers with precision. Your shipping company and their crew should be able to palletize, take in containers, devan properly, and store as well as distribute from their base.

How Can I Benefit from Devanning?

There are several ways devanning can benefit your business. As a business owner by now, you know your most important factor to be and stay successful are profits. These are generated by the speed, quality, and volume of your products’ inflow. Devanning makes it possible for you to receive everything on time, as wished for. Besides, there is a guarantee that the goods you are awaiting won’t be damaged. Also, now you can see where exactly your goods are. This can be useful if you expect delays. This way you can inform your customers as well, as soon as you know about potential delays.

Where Is Devanning Conducted?

Devanning can take place at two places most commonly. It can be conducted at the warehouse of the destination of goods. However, it can also be done at the container docking stations.

Loading Containers Securely?

When shipping, goods can be damaged. If one is not careful when loading the goods into the containers, these items can fall or hit each other. Devanning can help avoid that. Here are some safety tricks when loading cargo:

  • Place Heavy Items at The Bottom While Light Ones at The Top
  • Find the Best Match Of Security For Your Specific Shipment
  • Be Sure to Fill Up All Empty Spaces to Avoid Moving Of the Goods
  • Secure the Goods Tightly Together

Container Devanning VS Transloading

Transloading and devanning of containers are similar terms. However, they are not the same. They can be confusing as they are used closely in the same field, though they refer to different techniques of loading goods. As we know by now, devanning is unloading goods from a container with special care. Transloading, however, refers to taking the cargo/ container from one shipment method and transferring it onto another one. For instance, this could be sea freight to land transport transloading.

How Long Does Devanning Take On Average?

Devanning time can differ based on the circumstances coming with each shipment. Depending on the dimensions of shipment, quantity, or even the value of goods, devanning can take anywhere between 1-3 days. Besides here are the three main factors affecting time from the labor force’s perspective:

  • Skills of the Team Hired
  • Quality of Equipment
  • The Volume of Goods to Be Unloaded

Is Special Equipment Needed for Devanning?

The short answer is yes. To make use of time and unload the shipment securely, there are a few essential tools all devanning crew will need. The following list is the most commonly used equipment, that allows for efficient and secure devanning operations:


  • Pallets – Helpful When Sorting Cartons
  • Lifegate – Ideal Tool When Devanning Heavy Shipments
  • Ladder – Helps Get to the Containers Safely
  • Forklift – Useful to Unload Cargo With If It Arrives On Pallets
  • Conveyor – Can Take Several Boxes at One Round
  • Slip Sheets – Make It Easier to Remove Pallets
  • Bolt Cutters – Ideal When Unlocking Sealed Secure Bolts 
  • Straps – Very Handy at Preventing Goods From Moving 
  • Dunnage – Material Placed Between Goods and Container Walls to Protect Them
  • Ramps – Helpful In Substituting For Docks By Withstanding Heavy Objects Like Forklifts

What are the Average Costs of Devanning?

The average devanning fee can be different. This always depends on the size, shape, and quality of your desired shipment. You should expect to have to pay a starting fee of about $175 for a basic 20ft shipment that is palleted. However, when you are shipping heavier cargo or one that needs special care, the starting fee could be over $200. For a precise fee, you should always contact your logistics company. This way you can inform them about your exact shipment details and have them give you a closer estimation based on your specific orders. 

Is Devanning Applicable For Amazon Fba Shipments?

Yes. You can certainly use devanning services when it comes to dealing with Amazon Fba shipments. Though you should watch out. Amazon has specific requirements. These requirements must be fulfilled by any distributor. Therefore you should reach out and get the info you need beforehand. A good logistics company will know what you will need to do exactly to be up to par.

What is the Right Devanning Service For Me?

As we discussed it above, devanning takes special labor. This crew needs to possess special training and skills in order to conduct the unloading maneuver correctly. Therefore it can be a challenge finding your right team. Therefore in the following list we collected the 4 most important factors to consider when preparing for your devanning


  • Be sure to do your research beforehand and find the right davanning company fitting for your desires
  • Try and be present when your shipment is being devanned
  • Hire customs brokers if you can as they can make the entire operation a hassle free experience
  • It is in your best interest to pick a company that can conduct everything involved. Such as MAF or ATF

What are the Most Important Factors to Devanning?

When it comes to the actual process of conducting, there are some important elements. These aspects need to be present in order for you to have a successful and hassle free operation. So when it comes to devanning you should consider:

  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Container Dimensions
  • Cargo dimensions (wight, size etc)
  • Access to special equipment 
  • Destination considitons
  • Rental or ownership possibilities

Does Type of Transport Affect Type of Devanning?

In short, yes. Depending on whether it’s sea air or land transport, your cargo will require different ways to be dealt with. Devanning will require different techniques as well as different skills your crew will need to process. For example if airfreight is used to transport the shipment, there will be a need for a special crew that can devann from a door located high above the ground. Whereas if it is a truck, the maneuver will require entirely different operations.

What are the Main Risks While Devanning?

Devanning can be a dangerous operation. This is due to the time schedule as well as heavy duty having to be dealt with. Here are some of the top risks that come with devanning that your crew will have to watch out for:


  • Optimal Lighting Conditions
  • Extreme Weather Conditions
  • Loos Goods That Might Move Around In the Containers
  • Heavy Items That Might Fall Upon Opening Containers
  • Not Briefed Crew Members
  • Unstable Placement of Containers

What are the Most Important Preventive Safety Measures?

Devanning can be very dangerous. Besides of course, having your crew well prepared there are a few more things you can do to avoid accidents. Some of the most important preventive safety measures are as follows:


  • Be Sure to Check If the Container is Positioned Properly
  • Makes Sure That the Crew Wears All Required Safety Gear
  • Clear Out The Area Before Starting to Devann
  • Do Not Enter Container If It Appears To Be Placed On an Uneven Surface

Why Have Your Containers Inspected Before Devanning?

It is always a good idea to have your containers inspected before devanning. The reason is because it will allow you to see what works. You will gain information about whether the shipment meets the local safety measurements. But also whether the volume of your shipment will be a match when it comes to all requirements. Very important to mention also that inspection will allow you to see if your shipment has arrived in good condition and everything is as requested.

Whose Responsibility Is It to Return Empty Containers?

You do not have to worry about returning your container at the end of devanning. All you have to do is to be sure that your container is clean and emptied properly. Failure to do so might result in additional port charges. When the planning is finished, the person in charge of the transportation will double check everything. They will see if there were any mistakes, or if any loose items were left behind by any chance. Then, the container will be returned.


By now you see why devanning is so important. Whether we talk about sea, air or land transport, devanning has a key role in making sure your goods are unloaded safely. Investing your time and money into the right crew and company can save you from lots of hassle. Unloading is a precious procedure. Regardless of the types of goods you import you will want your items to remain in perfect condition throughout their journey. Lack of efficient devanning can lead to damaged goods, delays or missing shipment. These all would end up resulting in customer satisfaction. This you might want to avoid. Therefore be sure to conduct thorough research. Then, knowing what you need and seeing what each company can offer, find what will be the best match to you and your business alike. This way you can save time, money and remain a reliable, highly-rated supplier for your customers.

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