The Perfect Fit: LCL Cargo vs. FCL Cargo

Importing and exporting your goods can be a complex process, and one of the key decisions you will face is whether to opt for Full Container Load (FCL) shipping or Less Than Container Load (LCL) shipping.

Understanding the difference between FCL and LCL shipping can help you decide which options are best for streamlining your business and, thus, ensuring that whichever option you choose will be the most efficient and cost-effective.

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What is a Full Container Load (FCL) Shipment?

A Full Container Load (FCL) shipment is when a shipper takes sole responsibility for an entire container. One shipper, such as a business or an individual, will utilize a container exclusively for a single FCL shipment, regardless of whether the goods fill the container completely.

Image from Global Logistics Connections, Inc.

FCL cargo is available for any shipment, irrespective of volume, but it is advisable to opt for a complete container booking when the total load occupies the container wholly. Here are the commonly used container sizes for FCL shipments, along with their approximate capacities:

  • 20′ Container: Approximately 33 CBM
  • 40′ Container: Approximately 67.5 CBM
  • 40′ High Cube Container: Approximately 76 CBM

What is Less than Container Load (LCL) Shipment?

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A Less than Container Load (LCL) shipment is when a shipper shares container space with other shippers’ goods. Multiple shippers – as in multiple businesses or individuals – will consolidate their goods into the same container for an LCL shipment.

LCL cargo is a versatile option that can accommodate shipments as small as 1 CBM or even less, with the minimum chargeable volume set at 1 CBM. LCL cargo proves to be the ideal choice for shipments with a volume below 15 CBM.

How to Determine if Your Business Requires LCL or FCL Cargo

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing between LCL and FCL cargo for your business needs. Here are some of the most important factors:

Factors for Determining
Which Is Best for You
Less than Container Load (LCL)Full Container Load (FCL)
Size (by volume and weight)Volume: 1 CBM or less, ideally shipments below 15 CBM

Weight: Max. 1 ton (1000 kg) per CBM, ideally shipments below 15 CBM weighing more than 150 KG
Volume: Any shipment can use FCL, but it is ideal to utilize the entire space with 15 CBM or more.
20′ Container: ~ 33 CBM
40′ Container: ~ 67.5 CBM
40′ High Cube Container: ~ 76

Weight: Each container has different weight requirements
20’ container: 18.6 tons
40’ and 40’ HC container: 28.6
The overall shipment cost for either LCL or FCL will always vary depending on the size of your goods, the route, and your freight forwarding partner.
LCL shipping allows you to pay only for the space your cargo occupies, sharing container costs with other shipments; This makes it a cost-effective option and typically the cheaper option, especially for small to medium-sized businesses with lower volume shipments.The cost of FCL shipping tends to vary depending on the size specifics of each shipment and the route.
Container Use FlexibilityLCL shipments offer flexibility regarding cargo size, as you can ship goods that don’t require a full container, which allows you to optimize your supply chain and meet specific transportation needs without the commitment of a full container.With FCL shipping, you exclusively use the entire container, ensuring that your cargo is not mingled with other shipments, minimizing the risk of damage and simplifying the tracking and handling of your goods.
Transit TimesLCL shipments generally require more time along their route compared to FCL. LCL is more prone to delays due to the multiple handling processes of entire containers at each port of arrival, which includes loading/unloading; sorting; and consolidation/deconsolidation.FCL shipments generally have shorter transit times compared to LCL, as there is no need for consolidation or deconsolidation at various ports. FCL shipments are unloaded from the vessel and delivered to the final destination
This can be advantageous for time-sensitive shipments with fixed dates or businesses with strict delivery schedules.
Cargo insurance is always a great option to protect your goods.
There is a higher risk of damage, loss, and theft to your goods due to sharing container space with other shipments.Exclusive access to the entire container makes FCL shipments more secure than LCL shipments.
The 5 crucial factors that can help you make an informed decision of either LCL or FCL for your supply chain.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to importing and exporting your goods, choosing between LCL and FCL can significantly impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your operations. Understanding the nuances of each option is crucial for making an informed decision. Whether you opt for LCL shipping to optimize costs or FCL shipping for exclusive use and faster transit times, selecting the right option ensures the smooth transportation of your goods.

At Jenik Freight, we offer comprehensive LCL and FCL shipping services tailored to meet your specific requirements. Our experienced team will guide you through the process, helping you choose the most suitable option and ensuring a seamless shipping experience.

To get started on your RORO cargo journey, contact us today!

To learn more about our services and company, visit our homepage.

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