Explained: Difference between FCL & LCL and what to prefer when?

The new players in the international shipping industry have a lot of questions regarding the terms they hear while booking shipping containers. Are FCL and LCL two different types of containers? Does the size of the two differ? Is the LCL container smaller than the FCL container? These common questions bother every trader who is trying to get a read on the market conditions. Let us understand the difference between the two most talked of shipping terms and their significance.

Introduction: FCL and LCL Containers

FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (Less than Container Load) are not two different containers but two different modes of container shipment. The former is for a bulk shipment while the latter is the best for small shipments. The FCL shipment is for traders who are dealing in bulk consignments that are enough for occupying the entire space of the container.

On the other hand, an LCL container is for exporters who deal in small consignments. In this mode of container shipment, the cargo of numerous traders is loaded in one container. There was a time when a prevailing conflict regarding the safety of goods in the LCL container was a point of concern. However, with the advancement of technology and the credibility of renowned shipping companies, LCL shipments have become safer and more convenient. Click here https://www.cogoport.com/lcl-freight and check out all the facilities available with it.

FCL vs LCL Container: Differences

The differences between an FCL and LCL container are rough for a trader to know the purpose of the two. It will help in determining the mode of shipment as well.

●     Quantity of Shipment

FCL shipments are ideal only for bulk shipments. Since the trader pays for the entire container, it will be cost-effective and beneficial if only he makes the most use of the available space. An LCL container is ideal for both small cargo and lightweight goods.

●     Pricing and Booking System

The shipping lines or freight forwarders charge different prices for both FCL and LCL shipments. The former costs as a fixed rate for the entire container that the trader can use to its full capacity while the latter costs as per the CBM (Cubic Meter) value and weight of the cargo. Although the prevailing market rates remain more or less the same, a trader can avail more benefits and facilities if he chooses the right shipping partner or freight forwarder.

●     Container Availability

The availability of an LCL container is more frequent than that of FCL containers. This difference occurs because the former fills up faster than the latter. The freight forwarders also keep a record of the number of shipments they receive against each type of container. So, the demand for LCL shipments induces them to offer more of the same.

●     Cargo Safety

The cargo safety depends more upon the freight forwarder, and his credibility than the type of container one chooses. Nowadays, it is also possible to book the space in an LCL container. So, it is not a matter of concern with all the container tracking systems, online bookings, etc.

The Ideal Preference Pattern for Traders

Now that one knows the difference between the FCL and LCL shipments, the preference pattern becomes quite obvious! If the trader is shipping in bulk, he should choose FCL containers, and if he is shipping in small amounts, LCL containers will be the best.

Everything comes with a list of pros and cons, and so do these modes of shipments. A wise trader is one who knows how to make the most of the pros while diminishing the effects of cons. So, the best bet is to seek assistance from the best shipping service provider. After all, the deep-rooted hands in the business are the most reliable ones!