Author Name: Tiffany Lee – Marketing Analyst at FreightAmigo

Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping is one of the important shipping methods. For customers with smaller shipment volumes, such as small and medium-sized enterprises, LCL shipping can be more cost-effective compared to Full Container Load (FCL) shipping. However, LCL shipping also has its own functions and challenges. Let’s learn more about the pros and cons of LCL shipping with FreightAmigo and Make Trade Easier!


Less-Than-Container-Load (LCL) 

LCL refers to shipments that do not have enough cargo to fill a full 20-foot or 40-foot container, and therefore need to be consolidated with other shipments. This method of consolidating shipments is sometimes referred to as groupage shipping. It also refers to any cargo that does not occupy the entire capacity of a shipping container (i.e., cargo with a volume of less than 20 cubic meters (CBM)), in which case the shipment will be consolidated with other LCL shipments.

Read More: What is CBM? –  A Must-Know Ocean Freight Quotes! How Many CBM for a Container?

Full-Container-Load (FCL) 

FCL refers to shipments that fill an entire shipping container. The shipper is responsible for packing, counting, loading, and sealing the container. Unloading the container is usually done by the consignee, but can also be done by the carrier at the cargo terminal. The carrier is not responsible for any damage or loss of the cargo inside the container. Generally, there are 20-foot containers, 40-foot containers, and 40-foot high cube containers.


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Bulk Cargo Vs LCL 

Bulk cargo refers to goods that are transported in their natural state, without packaging, on trucks, ships, airplanes, and other transportation vehicles for import and export. This term is sometimes confused with LCL, but it is primarily used for cargo that does not require packaging or is too large to fit into a shipping container. However, most shipping companies require the cargo to be loaded into a container to reduce the risk of damage.

Advantages of LCL Shipping 

The advantage of LCL shipping is that customers only need to pay for the volume of cargo they need, which is more cost-effective than FCL shipping, especially for small shipments or small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, this shipping can be more flexible to meet the needs of customers. Customers can ship their cargo in batches, reducing inventory storage space and lowering costs. When container availability is scarce, such as during peak shipping season, LCL is easier to find than FCL and is faster.

Disadvantages of LCL Shipping 

However, LCL shipping also has some disadvantages. Since the cargo needs to be consolidated and deconsolidated with other shipments, LCL shipping requires additional loading and unloading operations, which increases transportation time and costs and also increases the risk of cargo damage or loss. Moreover, during peak or high-volume shipping periods, LCL shipments may be delayed due to customs clearance delays caused by other shipments.

In conclusion, LCL shipping has its pros and cons, and customers can choose the most suitable shipping method based on their own needs and circumstances.

FreightAmigo’s LCL Shipping Solution 

FreightAmigo is an international logistics platform that provides sea freight FCL, sea freight LCL, rail FCL, and rail LCL shipping services. In addition, FreightAmigo can arrange customs clearance, cargo insurance, and cargo financing for customers, providing a one-stop logistics service to make your trade simpler. Get a quote now and arrange the best sea freight FCL/LCL shipping solution for you!

Read More:

Logistics101 – Benefits and Drawback that you must know of FCL

Guide to Sea Freight – What is Sea Freight? Common term, Pros & Cons

Logistics101 – What is FCA? | Meaning and Usage of Incoterms


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Jack Wan