July 15, 2024
FCL and LCL shipping's

Freight forwarding shipping is a massive task if you don’t collaborate with the right people. All freight forwarding companies ask you to select the mode of transportation. If you choose to ship goods by sea or ocean freight, you must decide between FCL and LCL shipping’s.

FCL vs. LCL shipping’s is for the businesses that opt to transport their goods through waterways. Subject to the size, nature, and volume of the shipment, either option may be a good choice.

There is a lot to understand before you ship your goods. Deciding which container shipping is reasonable for you is essential. Here we will talk through some of the best comparisons between FCL vs. LCL shippings that will let you choose the suitable container for your shipment.

FCL vs. LCL Shippings

The main difference between LCL vs. FCL shipping is the space that you rent. FCL stands for “Full Container Load,” in which a container is for the use of a single consignee. Regarding international shipping, FCL is a single container booked by the shipper for the transportation of their cargo only. The shipper rents the whole container and doesn’t have to share it with other shippers. This ensures more security and also simplifies ocean freight forwarding shipping.

LCl stands for “Less than Container Load .” This method is handy when the shipper doesn’t need to book the entire container as the cargo size is too big to demand a whole container. Shippers can send smaller shipments economically through LCL shipping containers.

Freight forwarding shipping requires booking under the FCL and LCL shipping’s category. Freight forwarders often opt to book the LCL containers and consolidation by merging several of their cargoes. They book FCL containers as a whole and consolidate the same with cargo from different shippers.

Key Differences Between FCL vs. LCL Shippings

  • The cost of LCL exceeds that of FCL as the volume of the cargo increases.
  • FCL shipping is for heavy and bulky goods, while LCL is for small and portable ones.
  • Generally, FCL rates are volatile, while LCL rates are more stable.
  • For heavy cargo, half-height containers are the most suitable option.
  • Bulkers are ideal for granular shipments.
  • Cars and other vehicles are transported with collapsible racks.

What are FCL and LCL in shipping terms?

Freight forwarding shipping by waterways requires booking of FCL or LCL containers. To ship an FCL shipment, exports will have to book at least one whole container. An LCL cargo is not required to reserve an entire container but only a portion.

Hence, in the case of FCL and LCL shipping’s, the goods therein are by one single company only. In LCL, there may be goods owned by different companies.

Exporters who need a fast delivery should go for FCL as the delivery time is much quicker than LCL. Due to booking an entire container by a single company, there is no need to unpack and sort it at different locations or delivery ports. LCL shipping requires additional time for sorting goods, processing, and consolidating documents. The time needed for loading and unloading is also higher for LCL consignments.

Shipment Cost: LCL vs. FCL Shipping’s

Freight forwarding shipping needs to be done at a minimal cost. In terms of total shipment cost, an FCL and LCL shipping’s container booking is more expensive. However, if the shipment is significant considering the dimension-wise cost, FCL is cheaper than LCL. Consequently, the cost per freight is higher in LCL, although it is an economical option in terms of the total cost.

Obviously, for small cargo, LCl is the only logical option. However, if the cargo volume is big, the shipper needs to compare the costs of FCL vs. LCL shipping’s. Apart from this, there will be destination service charges and haulage charges. The buyer may recover these charges, but the price escalation may affect future business.

Exporters can calculate LCL’s cubic meter to determine how good it is. In the case of FCL and LCL shipping’s, they charge freight on a full container load basis. However, in LCL, the freight charge is on the basis of the volume of cargo.

Which one is Better: FCL vs. LCL Shipping’s

Several factors will determine the best option for you while comparing FCL and LCL shipping’s.

A significant factor is transit time. LCL shipment moves only when the freight forwarder receives sufficient cargo to fill the whole container. With multiple cargoes, there are multiple trans-shipment delivery ports, resulting in delayed arrival of freight at the destination. Hence, while opting for LCL, the exporter must find out the stuffing date, trans-shipment schedule, carrier itinerary, and the expected delivery date.

The comparison between FCL and LCL shipping’s is simple when the cargo volume is too big or too small. But when deciding between the two, the shipper has to calculate the shipment cost with the speed and convenience of the logistical process.

In freight forwarding shipping, containers are the most convenient way of transporting cargo overseas. These are durable materials such as aluminum, steel, fiber polymer, etc. The containers come in the standard dimensions with differing lengths of 8 to 40 feet. Their size is as per the ISO (International Organization Standard) specifications.

FCL vs. LCL Shippings: A Quick Comparison

Comparison Points

FCL (Full Container Load)

LCL (Less than Container Load)

Shipment Volume

●     Volume is not an issue for FCL shipping. An entire container can hold more than 15 CBM.

●     Common container sizes for FCL shipping include 20ft (33CBM), 40ft (67.5CBM), and 40ft HQ (76 CBM)

●     Can be useful for shipments as small as 1 CBM.

●     LCL shipping is ideal for consignment with a volume less than 15 CBM.

Shipment Weight

●     Every container size has a different allowable weight limit. 20ft (18.6 tons), 40ft and 40ft HC (28.6 tons).

●     After exceeding the maximum allowed weight, the exporter needs to move the remainder of the goods to a different container.

●     Maximum weight per CBM is 1 ton.

●     Small shipments less than 1 CBM weighing more than 150kg can be economical to ship through LCL.

Freight Cost

●     FCL shipping can be cheaper for consignments with a volume of around 15 CBM.

●     The price per CBM is not always lower than LCL shipping as it may depend upon various factors.

●     The costs are cheaper for smaller goods under the volume of 15 CBM.

●     The overall cost for consignment higher than 15 CBM can be higher depending upon the route.

●     The local fees in LCL shipping can be higher than FCL.


●     The total time of transit is much shorter as compared to the LCL shipping because containers are unloaded and delivered only at the final destination. ●     LCL shipping can take four or more days as compared to FCL. Additional days may also be required for sorting, unloading, and deconsolidation.

●     If custom chooses one consignment to undergo inspection, the whole consignment will be on hold.

Security and Damage

●     Lower risk of cargo getting stolen, damaged, or lost because the container travels only a direct route.

●     Container loading inspections and insurance are available as extra layers of protection.

●     Higher risks of theft, damage, or loss since other shipments share the container.

●     Freight insurance is there as an extra layer of protection.


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