|Processing||Operations on the goods. Includes sorting, packaging, testing, assembling.|
|Distribution||Operations on the cargo. Consolidation, deconsolidation, transloading or cross-docking. Assembling LTL shipments.|
|Customs clearance||Releasing and/or inspecting inbound cargo. Assumed by a national customs authority.|
|Foreign trade zone||Imported and domestic goods considered to be outside of the customs territory. Requires bounded transport and bounded warehousing.|
|Container depot||Handle containers (leased or carrier owned). Transfer custody of containers between shippers. Storing and servicing/repairing containers.|
Source: adapted from M. Rahimi, A. Asef-Vaziri and R. Harrison (2008) Integrating Inland Ports into the Intermodal Goods Movement System for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Metrans Transportation Center, Project 07-01.
Among the functions that provide added value for freight:
- Processing. An array of transformations performed on the goods being carried as they are transiting. They can include packaging, assembly or testing. The location of these activities depend on the type of product and the market.
- Distribution. An array of operations performed on the cargo so that it can be distributed more efficiently. Consolidation and deconsolidation are common operations, with transloading and cross-docking being aimed at changing the load unit.
- Customs clearance. Capacity to ensure that the inbound cargo is compliant to the national rules and regulation. Correspond to official port of entry where cargo can enter or exit a country.
- Foreign trade zone. A sanctioned site where foreign and domestic goods are considered to be outside of the customs territory. It becomes possible to use this status to perform activities in a manner less subject to duties and taxation.
- Container depot. A facility where containers are stored and made available to the maritime shipping and/or the inland distribution market.