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FCL vs. LCL

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Stone's picture
Submitted by Stone on Fri, 09/20/2013 - 12:45

Definition

FCL – Full Container Load

LCL – Less than Container Load

A 20’ container holds approximately 30m3 of goods. If your orders don’t fill up a container, you can book LCL and ship your goods together with other customers’ shipment in one container. However, there are a couple of things about LCL that you will have to consider before you book it.

It takes longer time for LCL to be exported and to reach destination

  • Your goods have to wait for shipping company consolidating suitable goods from other customers.
  • Your goods get delayed if any other customer’s goods have problem with Customs for clearance.
  • The customs formalities are more complicated at the export port for LCL shipment.
  • The loading and unloading of other customers’ shipments during transit.

LCL incurs more costs

Compared with FCL, LCL incurs more costs such as forwarder handling fee, CFS fee (container freight station), and inland shipping fee to the export port (at supplier’s cost if in terms of FOB).

Specifically, CFS is a port facility for loading and unloading containerized cargo to and from ships.

CFS fee varies from forwarder to forwarder but it’s usually high, from CNY40-200 per cubic meter. And it’s charged at both ends, the export port and the destination port. Be very careful that CFS sometimes can be way more expensive than you imagine at the destination port. Figure that out with your forwarder before you book LCL.

LCL needs stronger packing

Since you don’t have control on other customers’ shipment, your goods may get crushed and damaged if there are not enough protections in place.

Use 5ply corrugated cartons, add reinforcements or apply pallet, and don’t forget to mark your shipment clearly.

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