Beneficial Cargo Owner

Have you ever be influenced by any ocean shipping issues?

How can you manage the importing goods and have worry-free shipping?

For dealing with the whole process of shipping, a BCO is a person who understands what kind of issues may occur, and how to solve them.

A Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO) is the importer who takes control of shipments by himself at the destination by the use of logistics assets.

A BCO handles the shipments himself instead of hiring a third-party source like some freight forwarder or an NVOCC. With the help of a BCO, you can handle the problems easily.

In this blog, we will discuss BCO and related terms in detail. The most important part is the discussion about how to pay less effort on the international shipping by hiring a BCO. So, before you decide to import or export something, give this blog a thorough read.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: What is BCO? Why is it Important?

Chapter 2: Comparing BCO with Other Transport Freights

Chapter 3: 7 Essential Tips to Overcome Common Ocean Shipping Challenges As a BCO

Chapter 4: Things to Know Beforehand Regarding BCO Freight Forwarding

Chapter 5: Frequently Asked Questions About BOC

Chapter 1: What is BCO? Why is it Important?

What is BCO

In this chapter, we will introduce you to the term BCO, the two commonly used channels for BCO, the importance of BCO along the pros and cons of using Beneficiary Cargo Owner.

1. What is BCO?How it works for your business?

BCO is the acronym used for the term Beneficial Cargo Owner. BCO is the importer (a company dealing with imports on regular basis) that takes possession of cargo when it reaches its destination, at the point of entry.

BCO is a technical term related to e-commerce, it is typically a large company that deals with the import of products on a regular basis. A BCO is also called the importer of the record.

A BCO contract is one that specifies the ocean freight through direct and indirect channels and does not use any third-party source.

The company does not use third-party sources such as NVOCC or freight forwarders during the whole shipping process. It also has a whole department concerning import procedures.

2. Why it is important to hire a BCO for your business?

The BCO is a requirement for quoting the domestic intermodal market. It is a very crucial part of e-commerce business. It ensures that the customers get their products safely on the destination port.

A BCO is responsible for the safe transfer of goods to the destination. It issues the bill of lading and also takes care of the whole process. It operates and manages all the shipping processes on the behalf of the importers.

It manages all the documentation and also helps to consolidate and de-consolidate the shipment.

The most enticing advantage of BCO freight shipping is that you will have constant communication with the clients. You are aware of your shipment, and you can trace it. BCO freight forwarding has made it easy to worry less about shipments.

Why it is important to hire a BCO for your business

Now rather than wasting your energy on old worries, you can put that effort into boosting the productivity of your business.

You no longer need to worry about pricing, bargaining, negotiation, safety, and other such things, because freight has got you covered.

3. How can a BCO help you ship products safely?

Product safety is the major concern of all the people involved in e-commerce. It takes a lot of effort to manufacturing and packaging of the products, so losing them due to the carelessness of the freight forwarder is very unpleasant.

A BCO can help you with this. A BCO issues the bill of lading and becomes liable for all the loss during shipment. So, you can rest assured that your products will be safely transferred to you. Otherwise, BCO will be held accountable.

Another tactic you can use to ensure goods safety is to do detailed research about freight forwarders. Then, choose the most appropriate one for yourself.

4. Pros and cons of using freight forwarders

Just like all other things in the world, BCO freight forwarders also have some benefits and some drawbacks. We should be aware of both before taking any decision. Following are few such points about the pros and cons of freight forwarding.

Pros of freight forwarders Cons of freight forwarders
The freight forwarding companies deal with a huge quantity of goods on a daily basis. So, the cost of shipping is much lower than the expectations. You have to be very vigilant because sometimes you might be charged higher than the original price.
If you select a reliable and experienced freight forwarding service, then you will receive your goods on time. It is always difficult to trust someone, no matter how much experienced the next person is. So, freight forwarding seems risky to some people.
Freight forwarders take care of all the necessary documents so that the whole process can run smoothly. There are a lot of consignments in a single cargo so, there is a huge possibility that your products can get lost.
Handing over the process will make you tension-free as the freight forwarder will be looking after all the matters. In some parts of the world, there is still lack of proper rules and regulations regarding freight forwarding so, it is not completely safe.

Chapter 2: Comparing BCO with Other Transport Freights

Beneficiary Cargo Owner, as we have discussed earlier is the importer that takes control of the shipment at the destination point. VOCC stands for Vessel Operating Common Carrier. NVOCC is the Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

Comparing BCO with Other Transport Freights

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding these acronyms in public.

So, in this chapter, we will discuss the difference between these three entities.

1. Differentiating BCO with VOCC

VOCC is an entity that is the owner of the massive containers. These containers are carried by boats and are used for the shipping of goods. It provides transportation through the water.

It covers almost all countries of the world. A VOCC assumes the responsibility of goods and passengers from the point of transfer to the destination point.

A BCO is an importer that may or may not own a container/cargo, but has total control over the shipment throughout the transport until destination.

When an importer contacts a VOCC, it is charged the whole tax. The rates of tariffs are high. So, if you are thinking of negotiation, then you must know it is useless because VOCC mostly does not entertain such requests.

2. Differentiating BCO with Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder is an entity that does not issue any bill of lading. Therefore, it is not liable for the loss caused during shipment. A freight forwarder can play the role of NVOCC partner/agent.

It acts as a middleman in the whole supply chain. A freight forwarder does not act as a carrier for the shipment. It acts as a facilitator on the behalf of the owner of the shipment.

Differentiating BCO with Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder takes care of the loading of the goods on cargo at the port of receipt and then unloading also. It also checks for the bill of lading from the involved parties even though it does not issue an airway bill itself.

BCO, unlike Freight Forwarder, issues a bill of lading, is liable for the damage, and is responsible for the shipment till the destination point.

3. Differentiating BCO with NVOCC

NVOCC – a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, now own any container or vessel. It is legally allowed to handle the shipment by issuing the bill of lading. It acts as a bridge between carrier and shipper.

NVOCC issues a bill of lading and is liable for the loss and damage caused during shipping. It acts as a carrier, and provides more visibility because you know who is handling your shipment.

A BCO does not involve any third-party source. It negotiates freight directly with the VOCC and is enough for the transportation of at least 100 TEUs.

Chapter 3: 7 Essential Tips to Overcome Common Ocean Shipping Challenges As a BCO

While shipping goods from one place to another through BCO freight, you come across many challenges. In this chapter, we will discuss seven essential tips related to BCO, that can help you in solving ocean shipping challenges.

7 Essential Tips to Overcome Common Ocean Shipping Challenges As a BCO

1. Choose the right carrier providing the right services at the right price

Choosing the right carrier for your shipment is the most crucial tip we can give you. You should check for a carrier which is capable of providing you with the correct services, and also at an appropriate price.

You may get offers having lower rates but, you should always prefer services and quality over money.

For a better experience, you should have detailed information about the operations performed by the carrier, the type and size of containers, and other such things.

This knowledge will help you to predict the prices, and you can save yourself from problems in a long run.

2. Only the  fittest will survive, consolidate and gain

The second most important thing to learn is consolidation. This is the world of numbers, and only the one topping all graphs is likely to survive till the end.

If you are a shipper that deals with bigger volumes, then you might not feel the problem. However, those with smaller shipment volumes know it is really hard to grow at such a pace.

The best idea is to consolidate the volumes. This is how you will get more attention and better services from the carriers. It will help you to manage the market volatility and fluctuations.

3. Turn to an online freight platform

Only the fittest will survive, consolidate and gain

It is the 21st century, and everything is going digital now. Customers prefer E-sourcing tools and online platforms for dealing with freight shipping.

Freight intelligence and freight benchmarking are two such online tools that help in BCO freight shipping.

According to that, it is a wise option to turn your company into an online platform. It helps you digitalize the procurement strategy, analyze the services and rates, get transparency in the process and avoid human errors.

Digitization makes the whole process very transparent. You can avoid hidden costs and get rid of surcharges by the use of digital technology.

You can also analyze different proposals to select the one that suits your requirements the most. The best feature of technology is that you can also track the shipment and stay informed about any hurdle or delay so that it can be solved in time.

4. Choose a reliable shipping partner

A reliable Beneficiary Cargo Owner is the one that offers reliable shipping options. No matter which route you choose for shipping goods, the shipping firm you hire must be dependable and top-notch.

You should always make a checklist of your demands before reaching out to any shipping firm. While hiring a shipping partner, you should not look for cheap rates, you should always prefer quality and experience.

Choose a reliable shipping partner

5. Palletize your goods incorrect dimension

The correct pallets for keeping goods during shipment are necessary. It is a very frequently made mistake that people don’t bother about pallet sizes. The cargo and shipping containers have specific dimensions.

In order to keep the shipping process cost-effective, one should take proper care of pallets.

Whether you use LCL or FCL, the cost will be calculated according to the space covered by goods. Compact packaging with proper pallets can ensure fewer shipping costs.

6. Label containers before shipping

Labeling is the most effective way of reducing confusion and increasing the pace of work. There are thousands of shipments reaching the port. If you have not labeled your containers and goods properly, there is a huge possibility that you will lose them.

You should always discard the old labels when using old containers and put new labels on at least two sides of your container.

7. Get marine insurance before transportation

As the name indicates, it is related to ocean shipping, and it covers boats, ships, and other marine freight options available.

Getting marine insurance before the transportation of goods is very crucial. It helps you to recover the damages that occurred to your shipment during transport.

Chapter 4: Things to Know Beforehand Regarding BCO Freight Forwarding


There are a lot of details related to BCO services, and we have listed certain things you should know about a Beneficial Cargo Owner below. All the information in this chapter can help you make your decision about shipping easier.

1. The role of freight shipping intelligence

The freight shipping intelligence is a mode of keeping up with all of the regulatory changes, improving the process of freight shipping, maintaining inventory levels, and other such things.

It helps you to understand the shifts in the freight market. The strategic use of freight shipping intelligence technologies has proved to be really beneficial for customers.

It is very necessary to be up to date about the trends of the market when you are running a business. You always want to know what will benefit you and what won’t.

Freight shipping intelligence has been introduced for this purpose. You can get information about a specific market, identify the market rates, and know the deep secrets about the market through freight market intelligence.

2. Challenges related to procurement by BCO and ocean freight shipping

You can face many challenges while dealing with BCO and ocean freight shipping. Some of those challenges are mention below:

  1. Hidden costs
  2. The confusion regarding the choice of carrier
  3. Lack of transparency
  4. Issues related to supplier
  5. Inaccuracy of data
  6. Poor supply chain management

The best way to overcome these challenges is to create automation in the processes. Compliance among all parties can solve most of the problems.

To win the trust of clients, everything should be managed according to a plan, because this is how a platform becomes reliable.

3. Boosting the efficiency of the freight sourcing team

Boosting the efficiency of freight sourcing team

Be it BCO, freight forwarder, NVOCC, or any other freight sourcing team, no matter what you are thinking of, efficiency should be your main focus.

To boost efficiency and achieve maximum productivity, you must have adequate knowledge of the freight procurement market and a strong team that can handle all the requirements.

Having a sound knowledge of suppliers linked with your business makes the process easy. Through knowledge, you can analyze the types of freight like LCL, FCL, etc., and choose the one which suits you best.

Negotiation is the key to success in business. Freight rate benchmarking and complete knowledge related to your business can help you negotiate for better rates.

The impact of freight rate benchmarking and freight intelligence is very prominent irrespective of the size of your business.

4. The role of flexibility and transparency in freight shipping

Flexibility and transparency are the two most important factors to be considered when dealing with BCO freight. A BCO freight forwarder that is flexible, and can deal with difficult situations due to its experience is the most suited option.

A quick assessment of any situation and effective on-time response helps in increasing the reliability of a BCO Freight.

Transparency is yet another characteristic that is high in demand. No entity can function without transparency. A transparent BCO freight forwarder keeps its clients updated about everything that can affect shipment.

Chapter 5: Frequently Asked Questions About BOC


1. How much cost does BCO takes?

The fee of BCO freight forwarder is dependent on many factors like the processing paperwork, the copying of documents, and the preparation of the air waybill/ ocean bill (also known as the bill of lading).

In this way, the freight forwarders can handle the cost of shipments that usually ranges from $35 to $75. Considering all these factors, one can easily estimate the cost of BCO.

2. How to know if the contracting partner of BCO is reliable or not?

The best BCO freight forwarder knows how to deal with situations like delays, weather problems, miscommunication, and chaotic processes of shipping, etc efficiently.

Other characteristics of a good BCO contractual partner include transparency in trade, fair pricing, global connections with other such forums, hands-on experience, reputation, and excellent customer service.

3. How much time does BCO freight take?

The time taken by BCO freight shipping is dependent on many factors. These may include the distance between ports, the mode of shipping, the route of shipping, and the season also.

The interstate BCO freight shipping can be done in 2 working days, the regional shipping might take 4 or 5 days, and the cross-country shipping may take a week.

If you use a slower mode of transport, then the time will get prolonged. Shipping through sea and air have different time duration as sea shipping is much slower.

4. Is BCO better than other freight options?

BCO freight is flexible than the other available options. It is more reliable and more often used in the present scenario.

The BCOs have hired NVOCCs and freight forwarders, and hence they are in a better position to win contracts.

5. What is the difference between BCO and NVOCC and VOCC?

We can say that BCO is an independent company that handles import leverage, deals with a minimum of 100 TEU’s (TEU – twenty-foot equivalent unit is an approximately 20-foot-long cargo unit used for container ships), and negotiates the contracts directly.

A VOCC is an owner of a boat that transverse the oceans while carrying massive containers. It assumes all the responsibilities of the cargo from the point of transfer to the destination.

NVOCC (Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier) issues its own bill of lading and acts as a carrier for ocean transport. It assumes the loss and damage.


In this blog, we have discussed BCO and related terms in detail. We have mentioned all the important aspects of it. With the information above, you will have basic ideas about the reason why it is good to work with a BCO.

Before making your decisions regarding shipping, if you still confused about something related to BCO and want to know more details about what is BCO, then you can ping us at we will answer all your queries about that.