LCL: Less Than Container Load

What does less than container load mean? Usually abbreviated as LCL, less than a container load is a method of ocean shipping whereby multiple shippers’ loads will occupy a single container. You can consider shipping LCL if you don’t have enough cargo to fill a full container. 

What are the benefits of LCL shipping?

The primary benefit of LCL shipping is that smaller customers can take advantage of low shipping costs without having to purchase and ship larger quantities. That’s because you only pay for how much you use when you’re shipping less than container load.

Aside from the direct savings on shipping costs, by shipping fewer items more frequently, shippers can also save on ongoing costs like warehouse space.

Key Takeaways

    • Unlike FCL, or full container load shipping, LCL, or less than a container load combines multiple shippers’ loads in a single container. 

What’s the difference between LCL and FCL?

FCL is an acronym for full container load. In FCL shipping, the consigned shipment takes up the entire container and does not share it with any other consignees. Conversely, multiple consignments will share space in a single container with LCL shipping, or less than container load. The buyer is responsible for paying for the entire container space in FCL, whereas the buyer is only responsible for paying for the area that the shipment occupies in a single container in LCL.

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