Less than container load (LCL) refers to goods that are grouped with other shipments to fill a container and delivered along the same shipping route. This shipping method is often used by exporters or importers who are unable to fill up an entire container with their cargo.
Benefits of LCL Shipping
Lower shipping costs
With consolidated freight, businesses are only required to pay for the amount of space taken up by their cargo. As they can transport their goods without renting a whole container, this may decrease the cost of shipping. It is also a cheaper option as compared to air freight.
Lower warehousing costs
LCL shipping allows businesses to ship goods more frequently in small quantities and maintain a lean inventory. This may be ideal for those with little warehousing space or those looking to keep their warehousing costs low.
Availability during peak season
During peak periods when vessels fill up quickly, businesses are more likely to find shipping space via LCL shipping rather than FCL.
When Should I Use LCL Shipping?
To decide whether to use LCL shipping for your goods, there are 4 main factors to consider — volume, type of cargo, routes and time.
LCL shipments are charged based on the volume of the cargo in cubic metres (CBM), and this value is calculated by multiplying their length, width and height. If a shipment exceeds 1,000kg per CBM, it will be chargeable by weight.
In general, shipments with a volume of 1 to 15 CBM are ideal for LCL shipping while shipments above 15 CBM are recommended for full container load (FCL) shipping. Furthermore, it may be more cost-effective to ship goods that are less than 1 CBM via air freight.
Type of cargo
Depending on the type of cargo you are transporting, you may or may not be able to use LCL shipping. For example, hazardous materials cannot be shipped with non-hazardous goods or other hazardous materials. As such, they typically require shipping via FCL.
When deciding on whether to use LCL shipping, it is important to take into account the shipping routes available. Due to a scarcity of consolidators, not all shipping routes are available for LCL shipments.
LCL shipping is estimated to take 6 to 10 weeks to arrive due to the time needed for consolidation and deconsolidation, subject to your origin location and destination. On the other hand, FCL shipping requires approximately 3 to 6 weeks. Thus, you should use LCL shipping if your shipments are not needed urgently.
LCL Shipping Process
Cargo transported by LCL shipping are stacked on pallets to allow for easier handling and to ensure safe transportation.
If you are planning to engage a freight forwarder to assist you with this process, here are the typical steps involved:
LCL Shipping Charges
Most freight forwarders base their LCL shipping prices on the dimensions and volume of your cargo. Depending on the route your shipment takes, the total cost per CBM can range from $25 to $140.
Charges may also vary depending on distance – for example shipping from Australia to Singapore may be cheaper than shipping from the UK or US.
Why Choose M&P International Freights?
Due to our extensive network of shipping partners worldwide, we are able to negotiate lower prices and pass on our cost-savings to customers.
We are equipped with years of experience in freight forwarding and have shipped different types of cargo. Our team will be able to provide you with helpful advice and tips for the shipping process to ensure a stress-free experience.
Our team at M&P International Freights is dedicated to providing a top-notch, personalised customer service experience. We will advise you on the appropriate pallet for your cargo and the most cost-efficient route to take for your shipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does LCL shipping take?
Depending on your origin and destination, LCL shipping typically takes 6 to 10 weeks. Due to consolidation and deconsolidation, it generally takes a longer time to ship than FCL.
What is the difference between LCL and FCL shipping?
There are two main differences between LCL and FCL shipping:
• Container space
For FCL shipments, the container is not shared with other exporters or importers and is typically used for shippers with a large amount of cargo. On the other hand, LCL shipping involves multiple shippers loading their cargo onto a shared container.
LCL shipping is generally more cost-effective if you are shipping a small amount of goods as you are only required to pay for the space that your cargo occupies. However, if you are shipping via FCL, you will be required to pay for the entire container space.
What are some factors to consider when choosing between LCL or FCL shipping?
The volume of your cargo is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding between FCL and LCL shipping. For example, if the shipment consists of only one or a few pallets, shipping them in a consolidated container (LCL) may be more cost-effective.
• Type of goods
Hazardous goods cannot be transported in the same container as other hazardous goods. They also cannot be shipped with non-hazardous cargo. Thus, if you are planning to ship this type of cargo, you are likely to have to opt for FCL instead of LCL shipping.
• Shipment time
LCL shipping involves consolidation and deconsolidation of cargo, which can result in a longer shipping time overall. Hence, FCL shipping may be a better choice if you need a shipment urgently.