The shipping container industry has been dominated by maritime shipping for decades. Waterways serve as one of the most efficient pathways to transport cargo containers globally. If you’re transporting items of any size via maritime transport, you’ll soon question which is more convenient: LCL (Less Than Container Load) or FCL (Full Container Load).
Cargo can be shipped internationally through intermodal transportation. Choosing a transportation method for a shipment is significant, and the shipper should consider aspects such as size, price, and delivery deadline.
Before making a decision about shipping freight by sea, FCLs and LCLs are the terms that should be thoroughly considered. Read on to find out if FCL or LCL is the better option for your unique business needs!
What are FCL and LCL?
FCL (full container load)
A full container load (FCL) consists of a container that is exclusively used by one customer. A full container load (FCL) is a single container reserved by the shipper solely for the shipment of their cargo.
There is no obligation for the shipper to swap containers with cargo from other shippers. It increases safety and streamlines the management of ocean freight transportation.
Shippers who have a high volume of merchandise that can fill a whole steel shipping container may explore this option for shipping. Because the cargo box is reserved especially for them, the transporter does not have to exchange it with any other consignment. It has the added benefit of enhancing security and easing the transportation process.
Since FCLs are owned by only one shipper, the cargo containers do not need to be fully loaded with goods to be FCLs. Even if the cargo is half-filled or partially-filled, the boxes can be fitted. Because the complete cargo unit does not have to be emptied and unpacked into separate loads before being delivered, an FCL shipment is delivered faster than any other.
LCL (Less than container load)
Less than Container Load (LCL) is useful when the exporter does not need to book a complete container because the cargo does not require that much space.
An LCL container is used for smaller shipments that need to be shipped cheaply and on time. LCL means sharing a container with freight shipments from several different shippers.
FCL gives you total control of your container, whereas LCL combines your shipment with others.
People that need to transport a little amount of cargo prefer this mode of transportation. They are a more affordable option than FCL shipments, but they take longer to get to their destination. LCL cargo consists of a wide range of items that must be shipped to various destinations worldwide.
The task of transferring products via LCL is significantly more difficult because there is more paperwork to process. Because items are categorized differently for each client who must receive the container, LCL takes longer. This takes days to finish since all of the goods must first be unloaded from the cargo container, followed by clearing customs and dispatch.
Differences between FCL and LCL
Quantity of goods
The volume of shipment refers to how much room the cargo in the shipping container takes up. It is frequently a primary consideration in whether you should ship your cargo in an FCL or LCL container. An LCL shipment is usually the best option for shipments that are less than 13 cubic meters in volume.
When determining whether to ship FCL or LCL, the cost of shipping is a significant factor to consider. When you choose FCL, you will be charged the cost of a full metal cargo container, regardless of whether the container is fully loaded or not. LCL shipments are combined with other freight in a single box, they are a more cost-effective option because the prices are shared with the other shippers.
Safety of goods
All shippers naturally want their shipment to arrive at its destination safely and securely. Shipments must be protected from any unforeseeable catastrophes that could derail or harm the entire delivery.
An FCL container is safer than an LCL shipment because the latter grants the cargo shipper exclusive rights. An LCL shipment does not give the shipper any authority and could cause your cargo to be damaged in transit.
Speed of delivery
When it comes to moving cargo via shipping containers, every shipper and consumer wants their package to arrive on time. It is critical to determine if FCL or LCL shipments are required based on the shipment’s deadline. For urgent shipments that must arrive ahead of schedule or on time, FCL is the superior alternative. This is not the case with LCL shipments, which include a variety of other shipments from various shippers that need to carry their cargo to several places.
Wrapping it up!
In conclusion, it is important to understand the difference between FCL and LCL container loads in order to make the right choice for your business. FCL shipments are generally more expensive but offer more convenience and security.
LCL shipments are less expensive but can be more risky and time-consuming.
By weighing the pros and cons of each option, you can make the best decision for your company’s needs.