What’s the difference between FCL and LCL shipping?

09/08/20160 CommentsSEO SEO
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In the international logistics industry, there are many terms that we should know to properly understand the business dynamic. In this case, we are going to talk about two very used expressions: FCL and LCL shipment. What is the difference?

What does FCL stand for in shipping?

FCL means Full Container Load and this is the term used when the shipper is responsible for loading the shipping container and paying for all of the associated costs.

In this case, the shipping line is committed to taking the container from point A to point B and the B/L is the unique guide to its content, in which the type of cargo is declared.

If you are not familiar with the term B/L, click here.

FCL shipping is cost-effective when the volume of the cargo is more than 15 cubic meters (in a 20ft GP container) and is used to save costs. It is also a faster way of shipping than LCL (The container goes from the port straight to a unique buyer).

¿When should I use the LCL method?

On the other hand, LCL stands for Less Than Container Load. This means that a forwarding agent sends different cargoes from different shippers in a single container.

This method is more popular among small and medium companies that manage smaller volumes of cargo. Here, the shipper is responsible for the container and the loading of the goods. The charges will be higher by unit but keeping your inventory low leaves more room for other necessary purchases.

However, you should have in mind that LCL shipment there could be delays and you do not have control over the type of cargoes that will be loaded in the same container as yours. This increases the risks of possible damages in transit if other consignments are not correctly packed.

Taking the decision of the method of transport for your shipment is one of the most important things for the success of your business, that’s why you need to make sure to select a fast, secure and cost-effective option.


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