The Role of Beneficial Cargo Owner or BCO in Shipping


The Role of Beneficial Cargo Owner or BCO in Shipping


A beneficial cargo owner or BCO refers to an individual or company who acts on behalf of the importer by taking possession of the cargo when it reaches its destination. A BCO takes control of the shipment and doesn’t rely on third party sources like freight forwarders or NVOCCs for the movement of the goods. Because they are involved in arranging the entire process, smaller importers will often consult BCOs to make the importing process easier.

Advantages of working with a beneficial cargo owner

As a BCO administers and supervises the entire shipping process on behalf of the importers, there are several benefits of working with one. These include:

• The ability to track your shipment via the BCO during transportation.
• Peace of mind over the safety of your cargo. A BCO will issue a bill of lading once hired, making them liable for the loss of any cargo during shipment.
• Reduced responsibility for managing the shipping process. Depending on the contract, a BCO will take control of the whole shipping process, including the necessary paperwork.

What is the difference between a BCO and a VOCC?

There can be some confusion between the role that a BCO plays in shipping, and the role of a VOCC, or Vessel Operating Common Carrier. A VOCC is a company that owns the vessels used during the transportation of cargo. They also own vessels that can be leased to other entities to provide transportation for the goods across the ocean.


A VOCC is responsible for the cargo onboard from the point of origin to the destination point. Conversely, a BCO is an importer who has complete control over the shipment throughout the transportation until the final destination.


Why MSC is a great partner to choose for your shipping solutions? Choosing MSC as a partner for your shipping solutions means you’ll receive expert support for exports as well as imports. Our team is made up of a global network of experts and we pride ourselves on offering fast and reliable transit times and competitive rates across our full portfolio of shipping solutions. 

Contact us today to explore how MSC’s full range of shipping and transportation solutions could be beneficial for your business.

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