LCL vs FCL – Choosing Your Container Load

February 4, 2021

LCL vs FCL – Choosing Your Container Load

One thing you’re going to notice when shipping your goods is a load of shipping terms. While you may be familiar with some of them, you may come across acronyms that seem confusing. When discussing container loads with your freight forwarder they will ask you if you’re shipping LCL vs FCL? Or, FCL vs LCL? 

What exactly do these abbreviations stand for and what do they mean for you as an international shipper?

What is LCL Shipping?

When the LCL shipping term is used it’s referring to shipments or goods that take up less than a full container. The LCL shipping definition is “less than a container load”. When your goods don’t fill up a standard shipping container, they get grouped with other consignments.

This consignment may also be referred to as groupage shipments. This method of shipping does give you more flexibility when shipping smaller quantities or low-volume products. However, it may be the costly option as it requires the freight forwarder to handle more logistics.

What is FCL Shipping?

The FCL shipping definition is “full container load”. This means you’re shipping enough goods to fully load a container. The FCL shipping term may also be known as CY which stands for “container yard”. It refers to a full container load being shipped from its origin to its destination. These terms are often used interchangeably. 

A FCL shipment is owned by one group or company as opposed to LCL shipments which are grouped with other shippers’ goods. FCL shipping is the perfect solution to companies managing large volumes products or are shipping bulk items. 

Choosing Your Container Load

We, at W Group, are always looking for logistical solutions to your shipping needs. Selecting between a full container load and a less than container load is determined by the size of your products’ inventory and the volume you need to ship in one shipment. 

LCL shipping is suitable for goods using anything between 2 to 13 cubic meters. FCL loads need to be more than 10 standard pallets or occupying more than 14 cubic meters. 

If your freight forwarder is able to handle a variety of cargo sizes, you’ll be in a better position to choosing your container load and asking for competitive shipping prices. So, make sure your selected freight forwarder is able to offer LCL vs FCL shipping services

Whether you go with LCL shipping or FCL shipping, always make sure you get the same tracking and other services offered for all shipments. Whether your load is grouped with other shippers’ consignments or you’re shipping a full container, you still want to ensure your goods arrive at their destination safely. 

Final Thoughts

Shipping terms are commonly used in the freight forwarding business. Choosing your container load is defined by whether you’re shipping a full container or less than a container load. FCL vs LCL shipping is handled differently. 

LCL means your goods will be bundled with other shippers’ merchandise. FCL means your goods will be packed into their own container. You can also expect the costings to vary between the different cargo sizes.

 But, having the option to ship various cargo sizes means you can still benefit from international shipping. Speak to us, at W group, today to discuss the right container load for your business.

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