LCL vs FCL
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LCL Vs FCL: How To Choose the Best One
New shippers are always confused about LCL Vs FCL. Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) are the most COMMON WAYS to ship by container.
The primary distinction is with LCL, the buyer does not rent an entire container space. Shares it with other shippers. In international logistics, both FCL and LCL are universally understood and used.
Here, our logistics EXPERTS review the pros, cons, and key distinctions between FCL and LCL. As well as the factors to consider while deciding on the ideal one for your package.
What are FCL and LCL?
By sea, there are two modes of transport for containerized freight – FCL Cargo and LCL Cargo.
FCL means Full Container Load, a type of shipment that utilizes a single container. Typically 20 or 40 feet in length to transport goods. This type of shipment is cost-effective. It allows shipping more goods simultaneously instead of using many smaller containers. Large goods shipments, such as a company’s products, are often shipped as FCLs.
LCL means smaller shipments that are not large enough to fill an entire container. Companies split the container costs with other shipments when shipping LCL. Pay solely for the space their goods take up in the container. It is the best mode of freight when you need low-volume shipments. Use LCL when the cargo volume is less than 18 CBM or the freight is too large or heavy.
LCL v FCL: Pros and Cons
LCL Pros & Cons
- LCL shipping lets you ship in smaller volumes. You keep your inventory low. Instead of purchasing large quantities, you can use LCL to keep a steady inventory flow.
- Primarily, the storage cost is high if you use the 3pl warehouse in the USA. It reduces your profit by cutting your earnings.
- The most significant advantage of LCL is flexibility. Shipping LCL makes delivery appointments easier. All you need to do is order your product, which will come to your doorstep at the committed time. You won’t have to worry about delivery time at all with this method.
- It is a convenient method for small orders. If you want to order in bulk, then LCL is not the right method.
FCL Pros & Cons
- FCL is the best option when you have over 18cbm of product to ship. A full container shipment occupies better when you order in bulk.
- It is generally cheaper for bulk orders. In FCL, the goods remain in the same container owned by one shipper.
- It reduces the risk of mix-ups and makes finding your goods easier. FCL delivers faster, and usually, the delivery is on time. Freight agents always prefer FCL because it occupies the entire space. It is also easy to deliver to one final destination.
- It’s not the best option for smaller cargo.
Key Differences Between FCL and LCL
FCL and LCL are very different from one another. Let’s have a look at the key differences for better understanding.
The primary difference between LCL and FCL is the shipment volume. Any shipment can use FCL containers regardless of the volume. Below are the most common container sizes of FCL containers.
- 20 feet-33 CBM
- 40 feet-67.5 CBM and
- 40 HQ-76 CBM
LCL container can use for shipments as small as 1CBM.
Each container size comes with a certain maximum allowable weight. The maximum payload for FCL containers are-
- 20 feet-18.6 tons
- 40 feet-22 tons
- 40HQ-24 tons
Whereas for LCL shipment, the largest container capacity per CBM is 1 ton.
The cost of FCL and LCL container shipments can vary greatly. Freight forwarders entail price quotes depending on-
- Size and weight of the shipment,
- The origin,
- The destination,
- And the type of service provided by shipping lines.
FCL shipments are more cost-effective than LCL costs. Because of the lower cost of handling and consolidation.
4. Delivery time
The total transit time for FCL shipment is shorter than the LCL. LCL shipments can take at least four days or more in full transit time compared to FCL.
A Freight forwarder doesn’t pack LCL containers until they have adequate goods. Also, need extra days for unloading and sorting the goods.
Insurance and inspection are also available as an extra layer of protection. FCL shipments have a lower risk of cargo getting damaged, stolen, or lost. As the container travels only one route.
Yet, LCL has a higher risk of damages, theft, or loss. Since one single container shares shipment with others.
FCL provides more flexibility for shippers. They customize their shipment to fit the exact size of their cargo. In contrast, with LCL, shippers must share a container with other shippers. It is more costly and less efficient.
You find it difficult to get an FCL shipment during rush seasons. Whereas in LCL shipments, you won’t need a full container. So, it becomes easier to get the LCL shipment in rush season.
How to Choose Between FCL and LCL?
When choosing between the FCL Vs LCL, there are a few key factors to consider.
First, consider the size of the shipment.
LCL may be the best option for small cargo. LCL is cheaper and more efficient for smaller loads. It allows many customers to ship their goods in one container, thus reducing costs.
Second, consider the time frame.
Go with FCL If you want faster delivery and entire shipment. It requires less general handling and unforeseen delays. Cargo that needs NO damage risks will benefit from this.
Third, consider the type of goods for shipping.
FCL is better for goods that need extra SAFETY. Such as refrigerated items or goods that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. LCL is better for goods that are not highly sensitive.
Finally, consider the cost.
FCL is usually more expensive than LCL. Since it requires the customer to rent an entire container. LCL, on the other hand, is cheaper since it allows customers to share the cost of a container.
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FAQs about LCL vs FCL
How to calculate LCL charges?
LCL charges based on the cargo volume and the shipment’s destination. The amount of space required to ship the cargo is the multiplication of its:
• And height in cubic meters (CBM).
LCL charges calculate by multiplying the total CBM by the local LCL rate per CBM. The rates may vary depending on the origin, destination, and product type.
Can LCL be FOB?
LCL (Less than Container Load) and FOB (Free on Board) are two different terms. LCL is better if the goods shipped are insufficient to fill an entire container. Generally, FOB means the seller is responsible for getting the goods on board the ship. The buyer pays the cost of the goods.
What is the size of FCL?
FCL stands for Full Container Load, and the size of an FCL container depends on the container used. Standard FCL container sizes include 20-foot, 40-foot, and 45-foot containers.
LCL Vs FCL containers both have their pros and cons. But their main purpose is the same. LCL containers are generally more cost-effective than FCL containers.
Yet, it is not always the best choice for every business. Compare the benefits and disadvantages. After that, determine which container works best for your business.
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