A less used transport medium is the ship. Through "Lothar" and the need for long distance timber transportation, Baden-Wuerttemberg started to ship considerable amounts of storm timber. Timber haulage via ship is favourable in comparison with other long distance transportation. Haulage by ship is only profitable for distances greater than 500 km (transport including pre-carriage-charges and turnover approx. 19 €/m³). Therefore this organisational time-consuming option was only used for long distance transports.

Supply contract form

If haulage via ship is agreed by a supply contract, the following points of delivery for timber can be arranged.

Point of delivery
Commercial Terms
Point of delivery
frei VerladekaiFAS Free Alongside Ship
frei Schiff verladen im AbgangshafenFOB Free On Board
frei AnkunftshafenCFRCost and Freight
frei Ankunftshafen einschl. EntladekostenDESDelivered Ex Ship
frei Kai AnkunftshafenDEQDelivered Ex Quay
frei Werk Free Factory

It is recommended to agree on "FAS" or max. "FOB" as the point of delivery. At these points a local coordinator of the timber supplier can interact.

Additional details needed to settle a supply contract include:

  • Documentation of timber quality at point of delivery
  • Survey of the control measure at point of delivery
  • Settlement (as a rule measurement at mill, corresponding attachment at contract)
  • Supply rotation
  • Arrangements for transfer
  • Billing at delayed presentation of measurement-at-mill-data – security deposit / guarantee

Process of ship loading

Organisation of timber supply

For the seller haulage by ship is only profitable if large amounts of timber are shipped. Timber comes from different forest offices/ enterprises and different forest owners respectively. To coordinate the supply it is advisable to name one on site (forest) coordinator for all operations.

A detailed delivery schedule is helpful for all parties This schedule should be issued by the coordinator in cooperation with the supplying forest offices/ enterprises. It details the order and appointments of assortment supply and is binding on the supplying forest offices.

Organisation of pre-carriage

The coordinator engages a haulage company for pre-carriage (tendering of haulage) 2-3 weeks in advance of the beginning of carriage. Details which must be agreed in the contract are:

  • Type and amount of carriage, (fixed price for the respective forest district)
  • Appointments and arrangements in case fulfilment is not-on-schedule.
  • Duty to maintain a list of loads (basis of settlement)
  • Nonliability issues, especially for damages at port
  • Special duties (compliance with safety regulations relating to loading of the carrier and bark removal)
  • Exclusion of standstill costs

Depending on the size of the shipping space the delivery of timber should start a least one week before scheduled departure. This guarantees the complete supply of timber at port in time. If insufficient amounts are supplied, costs for dead freight arise.

Organisation of interim timber storage

Ships can not be loaded directly from a truck in less than 1-2 days. If there is not enough available area at the quay, an appropriate interim storage to collect the timber needs to be arranged.

  • Costs: 0,25 €/m²/month
  • A storage plan for the interim storage is prepared. Standards for stack safety, -marking, - classification and bark removal are also defined.
  • A local person must be assigned for the interim storage operation and the coordination of the subsequent loading.
  • If interim storage is arranged, further costs for transportation from the interim storage to the quay will be incurred (see figure).

Organisation of the loading infrastructure

At an early stage the coordinator clarifies the conditions of quay utilisation with the owner (e.g. port management) and “acquires” the right of use.

The loading can’t be carried out directly from the truck. It has to be arranged separately (mobile loading, fixed loading with gantry crane). Details to arrange are:

  • Loading location, loading type and loading amount
  • Shortwood or longwood (as requires different ship type)
  • Loading time (according to demurrage)
  • Nonliability during loading (damage to persons and property)
  • Regulation of work at night, Saturdays and public holidays
  • Issue of loading and freight documents
  • Leftovers from loading

If shipping space is offered by shipping companies, loading and unloading may be offered at the same time. After delivering timber to the quay the subsequent process is organised by the shipping company. Generally loading is carried out by the port operating company. It is possible to sign a separate contract with them directly.

Organisation of main freight

The coordinator signs the shipping space no later than 10 working days (= requirement of shipping companies) in advance of the scheduled loading commencement. Details agreed in the freight contract are:

  • Port of loading and port of destination
  • Loading form (gantry crane or mobile crane)
  • Average freight per ship, options are tonnages of approx. 1000 - 3000 t (for calculation: tonnage x 0.6 = 1 solid cubic meter)
  • Freight costs per t or solid cubic meter
  • Freight deadlines
  • Defined loading time and demurrage
  • Regulations at reduced shipping space supply or. less tonnage
  • Freight documents

If large amounts of timber are to be shipped over a long period, it is best to arrange special conditions with the shipping company. Such arrangements include one ship per week or one ship per month. The shipping company is able to plan their ships ahead of time. They can also guarantee to provide ships on time. Problems are experienced more often with irregular bookings.

Unloading and after-carriage

Supply contracts should include “Free on Board” as point of delivery. The unloading and particularly the after-carriage is then organised and arranged by the customer.


The freight document, respectively the calibration journal, specifying the tonnage must be adjusted to the measurement journals from the sawmills.

Forest Crises Management Advisory Guide

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