Less than Container Load (LCL) is a type of sea freight shipping service that is used to transport smaller quantities of goods. It is typically used when the amount of cargo shipped is insufficient to fill an entire 20ft or 40ft container.
In LCL shipment, your goods are consolidated and transported with items from other shippers in the same shipping container.
Looking to ship some goods overseas? Contact our friendly sales team to find out more about our LCL shipment services!
LCL vs FCL Shipment
LCL and Full Container Load (FCL) shipment are the 2 main types of sea freight shipping. While LCL is commonly used to transport a small number of goods, FCL is the better option for shipping large quantities of cargo.
|LCL Shipment||FCL Shipment|
|Container usage||Shared among multiple shippers||Used by a single shipper
|Cost||Scales with the amount of cargo space required|
The larger the space occupied by the goods, the higher the cost of shipping
|Charged based on a flat fee for the entire container|
|Shipping duration||Takes 6 - 10 weeks to arrive at the destination country||Takes 3 - 6 weeks to arrive at the destination country|
|Frequency of shipping||More frequent as consolidation process allows for more shipments to be shipped on a single vessel||Less frequent as fewer vessels are available for shipment|
|Volume of goods shipped||Suitable for shipping smaller amounts of goods||Suitable for shipping a large volume of items|
|Tracking and visibility||Poorer tracking and visibility as goods require consolidation and deconsolidation throughout the shipping process||Better tracking and visibility as all goods on the container belongs to a single shipper|
While loose cargo loads are commonly mistaken for LCL cargoes, the two are actually different methods of sea shipping.
Loose cargo loads refer to goods that are not containerised and are loaded onto a ship as individual items. This type of cargo is usually heavy and oversized, and examples include vehicles and heavy machinery.
On the other hand, LCL shipping involves the palletisation of smaller shipments together, which makes for easier handling.
Benefits of LCL Shipping
As compared to other shipping methods, LCL shipments offer benefits such as cost-efficiency, increased flexibility and environmental sustainability.
Shipping via LCL is cost-efficient as shippers are only required to pay for the space occupied by their cargo. By shipping a smaller quantity of goods regularly, shippers can also save on warehousing costs.
Typically, transporting goods via LCL is more cost-effective than air freight and FCL.
LCL shipments tend to have a higher frequency of departures than FCL. This is because multiple small loads are consolidated into a single LCL container, allowing it to be filled up more quickly.
As a result, businesses can ship their cargo as soon as their products are manufactured, and have the flexibility to accept orders on demand.
By consolidating several shipments, LCL shipping makes full use of the available space on a shipping container. This efficiency helps to reduce the total number of containers that require transportation, and reduces carbon emissions.
Packaging waste is also kept to a minimum as multiple shipments are packed together and not as individual cargo.
Factors That Affect LCL Shipment Charges
Aside from the standard international shipping fees, such as custom clearance fees and import taxes, here are some other factors affecting LCL shipment charges:
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LCL Shipment Procedure via A Freight Forwarder
Why choose M&P International Freights?
With over a decade of experience, you can rest assured knowing that your items will be safely handled by our team of experts.
We place great emphasis on customer service and strive to meet all your needs. You can expect your queries and concerns to be answered within 1 working day.
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Highly recommend M&P as they are very helpful, efficient and reliable. Account manager -Clement is easy to contact and he always update shipment status from time to time.
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Fantastic service by Leon Tai, Carina and team at M&P. We were having so much trouble finding a way to ship our custom made furniture from Vietnam to Singapore until we found M&P. Leon has been super helpful every step of the way. He’s also very responsive. We are so happy our furniture are delivered safely to our home. Thank you so much for your help, Leon, Carina and team!!!
FAQs on LCL Shipments
During the consolidation process, your goods will be packed and secured safely with crates or pallets. Padding materials such as bubble wrap will also be used to prevent damage to any cargo during the shipping and handling process.
To further ensure the safety of your cargo, empty spaces within the container may be filled with dunnage to stabilise the goods.
While LCL shipping can accommodate oversized and heavy shipments, it may not be the most efficient or cost-effective option. This is because such cargo can complicate the consolidation process of LCL shipments. Additional fees may also be charged as these goods usually require additional handling and specialised equipment for loading and transportation.
For the delivery of such cargo, opting for a specialised carrier or FCL shipping might be the better alternative.
Yes, LCL shipping can be used to transport hazardous and perishable goods.
However, it is important to check with your service provider to verify whether the specific item you are shipping complies with international regulations such as the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code.
Yes, LCL shipping can be combined with air freight for faster delivery. This type of shipping is often referred to as multimodal transportation, or sea-air freight.
For time-sensitive cargo that requires quick delivery, your goods will be consolidated as an LCL shipment and transported to a sea port at the destination country. Upon arrival, it will be shipped via air freight to its final delivery location.