Ocean Shipping: FCL vs LCL
Shipping goods across the ocean is often the best choice for bulk goods transportation – and sometimes, it’s the only choice! When importing from overseas, you have two options: Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL), which is sometimes also referred to as Consolidation Shipping. Here are some of the key benefits of each load type, to help you determine which better suits your shipment.
Full Container Load
FCL shipping is charged at a flat rate per container. The freight is loaded and sealed at the origin, and not again opened until it reaches the importer. FCL shipment containers are shipped using a combination of ocean, road and rail to make it to the destination. Because the FCL freight is not consolidated, it is easy to track where your shipment is at any given time.
Less than Container Load
With LCL shipping, you share the space within the container with other shippers. This allows you to ship smaller amounts overseas when you do not have enough volume to warrant a FCL shipping option. LCL is charged based on volume in cubic meters, and is cost-effective for smaller shipments where you would not use much of the container’s volume. LCL shipping is also almost always cheaper than air freight – though it will take longer to make it to the destination.
Both FCL and LCL shipping have benefits and drawbacks-when it comes down to it, the best option for you will be a reflection of how secure you need your cargo to be and how quickly you need the cargo. Plus, you will need to determine cost vs. the volume of product you are shipping.