The logistical activities that support container transportation fall into four broad categories:
- Container Management. Activities related to making the container available to the transportation market. It is particularly concerned with the brokering or the leasing of containers, which involves managing the existing container inventory given customers’ demands. Also, decisions are made about the segments along possible transport chains the containers will be using. Then, the location of the container needs to be tracked so that it can be handled along the supply chain so that users can better allocate assets such as capacity, vehicles, and labor.
- Container Transportation. All the activities related to the physical movement of containers along transport chains. It concerns maritime shipping, terminal operations, and inland transportation.
- Container (cargo) Handling. Activities related to the handling of goods carried in containers, particularly loading, transloading, and unloading.
- Container Storage and Maintenance. Concerns the pre and post container transportation activities. Empty containers have to be brought to a terminal or a depot to be inspected for transport worthiness, cleaned, and repaired if necessary. Once this is done, they are ready to be reused or repositioned.
Many of these activities that used to take place in proximity to major port terminal facilities are now taking place at satellite terminals and inland ports.