Creating Ocean Freight Bookings

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create and plan ocean freight bookings

Ocean Freight Booking Creation and Planning

Ocean Planning Process

The transportation process for ocean freight typically involves several stages of which the main stage constitutes the sea transport. Since this is the most important element of the transportation chain, the ocean freight booking that is used in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition to represent it is based on this stage. It originates in the port of loading and ends at the port of discharge. To represent the pre carriage and on carriage, that is the transport from the source of the transport to the port of loading and the transport from the port of discharge to the destination location, you can create two additional freight orders with reference to the ocean freight booking. These freight orders are called freight order for pick-up for the pre carriage and freight order for delivery for the on-carriage. These are typically executed as road transportation.

Depending on whether the goods to be transported are loose or loaded into a container, two shipping types are distinguished in ocean freight:

  • FCL (full container load)
  • LCL (less than container load)

The movement type of an ocean freight booking defines, which stages have been subcontracted to the carrier. The stages adjust automatically based on the movement type. Available movement types include Door to Door, Door to Port, and others.

Create an Ocean Freight Booking

You initiate the manual planning process for ocean freight by creating an ocean freight booking in the Manage Ocean Freight Bookings app or in the Transportation Cockpit app. On the General Data tab of the ocean freight booking you define the responsible purchasing organization and group as well as the carrier and the shipping type. In the FCL case you add one or more containers on the Items tab. For each container you define the equipment type and group. Equipment types for containers are standardized 4-digit-codes that represent the dimensions of the container, such as 20G0, 42G1, or 42GP.

The freight units are added to the ocean freight booking also on the Items tab either into the container (in the FCL case) or without container (in the LCL case). Based on the freight unit information the pick-up location and the delivery location are populated in the ocean freight booking. This information is then sent to the carrier. The carrier will eventually confirm the booking and provide additional data like:

  • Departure date: date of pick-up at source location
  • Port of loading
  • Sailing date: departure date of vessel
  • Cargo cut-off date: latest date, when the cargo has to arrive at the port of loading to make the sailing date
  • Voyage number
  • Vessel name
  • Port of discharge
  • Expected date of arrival (ETA) at the port of discharge
  • Port pick-up date: date, when the goods can be picked-up from the port of discharge

Once you know the container number, it can be added on the Items tab of the ocean freight booking. There you can also manage seal information (seal numbers, sealing date and time) The time zone is automatically taken from the source location of the container. You communicate the seal information to your carrier from the ocean freight booking via shipping notifications.

A requirement under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is to provide the verified gross mass (VGM) for a container. The VGM is the accurate weight of the container, including the weight of the goods, the packaging material, and the container tare weight. On the Items tab of the ocean freight booking, you can add for each container item its details on the Quantities tab. Here you can enter the VGM and related information, such as the person responsible for weighing, the weighing date and location, and the weighing method. As a shipper, if you have created a freight order for pick-up for an ocean freight booking, you record the VGM information in the freight order for pick-up when the container is picked up. This information is then propagated to the ocean freight booking. Irrespective of which business document the VGM information is recorded in, it is also sent to the related documents. If the container is weighed again at a later point by another party, e.g. the logistics service provider, new VGM information can also be recorded in the freight order for pick-up.

On the Stages tab of the ocean freight booking you can add additional information for each of the stages of the transportation chain. These are the carrier that will execute this stage (if different carriers are used for the main ocean stage and for road transportation on the pre carriage and on carriage). You can also define here, whom you expect to invoice you for each stage.

The ocean freight booking is communicated to the carrier via EDI when you execute the Send Booking action in the ocean freight booking. In addition you can send shipping notifications to the carrier manually from the Manage Freight Bookings app or automatically upon check out of the freight order for pickup. These messages are displayed on the Output Request and Communication History tabs.

The last planning step is the creation of freight orders for pick-up and delivery. You trigger the creation of these freight orders from the Items tab of the ocean freight booking. If you want to create a freight order for pick-up for a container, you select the container in the item structure and press the corresponding button for creation of freight order for pick-up. All freight orders for pick-up and delivery that are linked to an ocean freight booking are linked on the Document Flow tab.

Manage Ocean Freight Bookings

As explained the complete planning process for ocean freight is done in the Manage Ocean Freight Bookings app. In addition to the planning tasks, this app allows you to:

  • Create, view, edit and cancel ocean freight bookings

  • Search, filter, sort, and group ocean freight bookings based on criteria such as, carrier, port of loading, and port of discharge

  • Create deliveries for ocean freight bookings

  • Perform subcontracting and communicate the ocean freight booking details to the carrier. You also receive confirmation from the carrier

  • Enter invoicing carriers and an executing carrier for stages

  • View transportation charge details and manually calculate charges from the list view and the detailed view

  • You can set statuses, such as the execution status, for the entire document the (on header level), as well as for individual stages and locations (in the Stages section)

  • Print CMR waybills (Europe), bill of lading (USA and Canada), and master bill of lading (international) for freight orders for pick-up or delivery. Print IMO dangerous goods declaration for ocean bookings

  • Create note texts and include attachments


Watch the simulation Perform Manual Transportation Planning - Ocean to learn more about the system-related activities.

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