CTO – expanded to read Container Terminal Order – is the prime document that is used by the port (Transnet Port Terminals – TPT) to accept export containers into the terminal or release import containers out of the terminal. This document is passed at the port of loading/discharging by the client (if it is merchant haulage) or by the agent of the shipping line (if it is carrier haulage). Only once this is passed and accepted by port, the container will be allowed in or out of port. In general CTO’s can be passed only once the ship is nominated with the port.
In the case of exports, it has to be passed within the stack period (time allocated by the port within which all export containers for a particular ship should enter the port) failing which a Late Arrival will have to be passed based on the discretion and acceptance of the port authority.
In the case of imports, in general the cto’s have to be passed before expiry of the three free days allowed at the port failing which the shipping line might move the container on overstay.
CTO’s are passed for containers moving on rail or road – basically anything moving in or out of the terminal other than via ship has to be covered by a CTO.