Devanning: Definition, Process, and Benefits

Devanning: Definition, Process, and Benefits

Devanning is a process of warehouse and logistics management that uses digital technology to systematically unload loose items and shipping containers from a vehicle’s load space. 

Container devanning involves loading and unloading cargo using a sealed container and heavy-duty equipment like counterbalance forklifts to manage the entire operation. 

When goods devan at the destination, companies typically find independent shippers or a good logistics company to help manage logistics at the ground level. Devanning can resolve issues with some of the most demanding aspects of international trade and logistics management. 

What’s the best way to introduce devanning to your warehouse practices? This guide will help you learn what this process can do for your business. 

What Is Devanning?

Container devanning refers to the process of systematically unloading cargo using a counterbalance forklift or other heavy machinery. Workers transfer a shipment from the vehicle’s load space onto a loading dock and then unload cargo at its final destination inside the receiving business’ warehousing facility. 

Devanning is an integral part of the shipping and logistics ecosystem that helps buyers and sellers connect worldwide and makes the process of unloading cargo safer and more efficient. 

How Are Containers Devanned?

There are a variety of ways to devan shipping containers. Choosing ineffective processes that aren’t well suited for your own warehousing facilities can lead to delays in processing and delivery. 

The first step is to park all vehicles safely at the destination. This means the delivery vehicle should have emergency brakes set and equipment or pallets have no forks protruding. 

A qualified logistics company with the special handling skills required to make the unloading process easy and efficient should always handle the dock-level unloading processes. Inexperienced workers can cause damage to the goods or facilities and potential injuries to other workers if they attempt to devan without training. 

Common methods of container devanning and dock-level unloading services include loading and unloading baggage using any type of transportation with the help of a forklift or through the use of an equipment carrier that logistics teams design specifically for devanning purposes.

The container devanning process begins by loading the container onto the receiving vehicle. The logistics company will then determine if they need to use a forklift to remove a container out of the load space or if they can unload it using heavy equipment. 

Supply chain and logistics management companies consider potential hazards and available space to find the precise spot to place containers on level ground using counterbalance forklifts. That way, they are easy for staff to access. 

An ideal logistics partner and haulage company can minimize risk throughout the entire process. They will have an experienced team that can explain the process of removing and unloading different cargo without damaging container walls or the goods inside. Once unloaded, the container can remain on-site or travel to its final destination.

Warehouse Management Systems

Warehouse management systems (WMS) help to automate the delivery process and make it easier for logistics companies to manage their freight. 

Through a warehouse management system, logistics companies can track the location of goods on site and in transit, keep records of inventory levels, and generate reports that provide information about container utilization or warehousing costs.

Top shipping and logistics providers like Amazon rely on warehouse and logistics management systems to fill their transportation and shipping needs. 

A warehousing facility using WMS technology can manage its transportation and shipping processes like Amazon FBA shipments and provide new insights through research and analytics of the different techniques in these systems. 

How Do Logistics and Devanning Go Together?

The devanning process is a crucial part of logistics, and the two go hand in hand. By using warehouse management systems, logistics companies can automate the process and make it easier to manage their freight.

This way, they can track the locations of containers on-site and in transit, record inventory levels, generate reports that provide information about container utilization or warehousing costs, and more.

eight freight containers

How Long Does Devanning Take?

The average amount of time it takes to devan a container typically ranges from one to two hours, depending on the type of container you are unloading and the logistics company handling the process. Factors that can impact this time frame include the quality of special equipment, the company you hire, and the volume of goods the company can handle.

Where Are Containers Devanned?

Devanning takes place at a destination warehouse for a full container load (FCL) or a destination container freight station for less than a container load (LCL).

What is Full Container Load?

FCLs devan freight between a trucking company and inland freight facilities. FCL is a shipping term that references the weight of freight in a single or empty space or a bulk load.

Less Than Container Load? 

LCL is a shipping term for goods that are not full container loads but often differ from the legal definition of LCL. This includes freight containers measuring between 20 and 40 feet long and 2.5 to six meters wide as well as smaller boxes that would not fill a traditional freight container.

What Kind of Equipment Do You Need for Devanning?

Using professional devaners can be a simple process if you have the right supplies to complete it carefully and efficiently. 


It is common to use pallets to load and unload goods. They can be made of several materials, including wood, plastic, or steel. The main purpose of a pallet is to support the weight of the items it contains and prevent them from moving around while in transit.

Pallets come in different shapes and sizes depending on the type of cargo they will be carrying. There are also different types based on how the company will use them: single-use pallets for reloading trucks, double-wide for two rows of products stacked together, or triple-wide for three rows of products stacked together.

Counterbalance Forklifts

Counterbalance forklifts move large objects, such as pallets of goods, around warehouses and other storage facilities. They are often used to move heavy loads quickly and efficiently so that they can be processed faster

Forklift operators use a variety of tools to control the forklift and position it properly for transport. These include hand controls, steering wheels, mirrors, and cameras. In addition to moving masses of materials using their strength, forklift operators must also take safety concerns into account while operating the machine.


Liftgates help maneuver heavy objects into and out of a truck. An electric system lowers the height of the gate, which allows trucks to pass through without hindrance. Warehouses and other commercial settings often use this technology in cases where they need to move goods quickly and easily.


Conveyors, for example, move the soil and fertilizers from the truck to the planting area. They can also hoist products up or down a short distance, as well as move materials between storage areas and processing facilities.

Benefits of Devanning Services

If you don’t have the expertise or manpower necessary to complete devanning on your own, a professional service can help. These are professional companies that specialize in loading and unloading cargo from vehicles. Hiring an experienced freighting service can provide a number of benefits for your workforce.

boat carrying freight containers

Minimizing Damage to Cargo During Transportation

Devanning uses specialized equipment and procedures to protect cargo during transport. This is especially important when it comes to fragile or high-value items, as damage can significantly impact their value and lead to lost revenue.

Some of the most common protection methods include wrapping, strapping, stacking, crating, palletizing/tagging/labeling (preferably in multiple languages), loading delay insurance, and secure storage.

Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks; for example, wrappers tend to be less obstructive but require more time and manpower than other protective measures. Additionally, packing materials should never come into contact with the cargo since this could cause damage.

To ensure a safe transit experience for your products, consult with a freight forwarder who can recommend the best strategy for your situation.

Reduced Freight Handling Costs

There are a few ways that devanning can help to reduce freight handling costs. For example, this method can automate the ordering and tracking of cargo by using advanced technology. This technology can help to minimize errors and ensure that your shipment arrives on time, in good condition, and without harming the workers. 

Additionally, devanning’s sophisticated scheduling capabilities allow you to plan your logistics, which prevents delivery delays and saves time and money. You also have the option to use flexible payment options that make it easy to pay for goods as you receive the deliveries. You can either accept credit cards or various e-commerce platforms such as PayPal. 

Faster Unloading of Cargo and Freight

Devanning facilitates faster movement of freight by automating the process with its advanced technology. This not only reduces delays but also improves safety because it eliminates the need for manual handling. In addition to this, Devanning’s GPS-based tracking system ensures that a shipment is always where it’s supposed to be.

Reduced Vehicle and Traffic Congestion at the Port or Destination Airport

Devanning is a technology-based solution that uses sensors and mapping to plan routes for cargo trucks. By accounting for which ports or airports are busiest at any given time, the operating system can recommend the most efficient way to transport goods. This helps reduce congestion at the destination port or airport, making it easier and faster for goods to be delivered.

Devanning also minimizes stops by routing trucks through busy areas where they can pick up more cargo quickly and avoid congested roads. In addition, unloading cargo in specific locations can help relieve traffic congestion in surrounding areas by moving truckers closer to their destinations.

Reduced Emissions from Vehicles

Some facilities use the sun’s energy to drive away pollutants from vehicles. Solar panels on the roof of the facility convert sunlight into electricity that powers an engine.

This process not only reduces vehicle emissions but also saves money because it allows owners to avoid high fuel costs. In addition, since clean air is better for everyone around us, this process helps protect public health too!

How to Choose The Right Devanning Service 

When looking for a devanning service, it is important to choose one that meets your specific needs. This means you’ll need to ask the right questions and assess your situation carefully. Some of the most prominent factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a professional cargo service are:

1) What type of cargo do I transport?

If you want to devan specific types of cargo, you’ll need to use different methods, so make sure to select one that’s appropriate for the items you’re shipping. For example, some services are best suited for large batches of goods while others can handle smaller shipments more easily.

2) What is my shipping schedule?

If you’re shipping items regularly, it’s important to choose a service that can accommodate your needs. Some services offer monthly or weekly shipments, while others may be able to handle larger shipments periodically. 

It’s also important to consider the availability of the facility and its staff. If they are busy, this may affect how quickly they can process your cargo.

3) How much does my freight cost?

One of the most important factors when selecting devanning services is freight cost. If you’re shipping a large number of goods, find a business that offers good rates and services that are in alignment with the goods, vehicles, and services needed. 

Final Thoughts

When selecting a devanning company, it’s crucial to do thorough research and understand the logistics behind its operation. This means understanding everything from facility location to crew size and experience. By doing this, you can be sure that the devanning service will efficiently process your cargo.