A warehouse is an intermediary facility for receiving, storing, and distributing cargos or shipments for transport to their next destination.
Warehouses have different operations, although most of them share a general pattern of material flow. Typical warehouse operations include receiving, storing, accumulating and sorting, packing, cross docking, and shipping. Many warehouses are now capable of receiving and shipping via rail and trucks and can handle drayage services; thus, they are considered an intermodal transfer facility (similar to airports, ports, railway yards), where cargo is transferred between two or more modes.
A specific type of warehouse in freight is the container freight station (CFS), a facility where containers are stuffed, de-stuffed, and aggregation or segregation of export/import cargo takes place. A CFS is an extended arm of a port or air freight complex, where shipments are stored until the process of their examination and clearance is completed.
Essentially, green freight programs should promote and develop intermodal systems, including the availability of warehouse storage and most especially their geographical positioning in order to reduce the distance travelled. Strategic warehouse location contributes to the greening of logistics and to increased efficiency of intermodal transfers by minimizing fuel consumed and thus emissions. Due to the growing volume of trade, there is a general need to increase efficiency of CFS or warehouse operations. Warehouses should be designed to accommodate the receiving and shipping operations and the loads of stored materials, and should have the specialized cargo-handling equipment. Efficiency can also be accomplished by better cargo management, faster processing at gateway ports or airports and better transport links to gateway ports and airports, among others. Moreover, because lighting, cooling and heating account for a large fraction of energy consumption in warehouses, the regular maintenance of the cooling, ventilation and heating systems should be instituted and the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and measures, such as highly reflective white roofs (i.e. “cool roofs”), motion sensor-controlled lighting and selective heating, and other architectural features for increased natural lighting should be promoted.