FCL vs. LCL: Understanding the Different Types of Cargo Forwarding

What are the differences between FCL and LCL forwarding?

  1. Shipment size and volume
  2. Nature of cargo
  3. Transit time
  4. Cost structure
  5. Packaging and handling
  6. Customs clearance

Navigating the world of cargo forwarding and international shipping requires understanding the diverse methods available, and two prominent options are Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL). These terms might sound technical, but they hold the key to optimizing your shipping strategy.

In this guide, we help you understand these different types of cargo forwarding as a trusted China-to-Philippines Shipping forwarder. Whether you're shipping large volumes or smaller loads, grasping these differences will empower you to make informed decisions that align with your business's unique needs.

What is FCL?

FCL stands for Full Container Load, and as the name suggests, it involves shipping goods that occupy the entire space of a cargo container. In an FCL shipment, the container is exclusively dedicated to carrying your merchandise, meaning it does not share space with any other shipments.

CargoBoss’ Full Container Load (FCL) shipping service provides streamlined logistics management and superior security, as the whole container is exclusively dedicated to your goods. We offer this at an all-inclusive starting rate of ₱225,000, which covers customs taxes, duties, warehouse storage fees, and documentation fees.

We also ensure the container is dispatched from the port within one week, following the fulfillment of all necessary shipping requisites, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the shipment process.

What is LCL?

LCL, or Less than Container Load, is an alternative shipping method where multiple shipments from different customers are combined to fill a single container. In LCL shipping, your merchandise shares space with other consignments, and the cost is shared among the various shippers, contributing to the container's contents. This shipping proves to be a more cost-effective option for smaller shipments, although it might involve multiple trans-shipment ports.

Here at CargoBoss, we offer LCL services with rates starting at just ₱9,500/CBM. This is advantageous for shipments sized 0.200 CBM or below, as we offer a flat rate of ₱1,900. This all-inclusive rate cover expenses, such as customs taxes, duties, warehouse storage fees, and documentation fees, offering clients stress-free and economical shipping solutions.

To assist you further in making a decision between the two options, we have categorized certain aspects for you to evaluate which option is ideally suited for your needs.

Shipment Size and Volume

Full Container Load (FCL) tends to be the more cost-effective strategy for larger shipments that can accommodate an entire container. If your cargo is substantial enough to fill a container, FCL is the preferable choice.

On the other hand less-than-container Load (LCL) is a more suitable alternative for businesses handling smaller shipment sizes or those initiating lower shipping volumes. The strategy of consolidating multiple smaller shipments into one shared container can serve as a significant cost-saving measure.

Nature of Cargo

The type of goods being shipped heavily influences the choice between FCL and LCL. If your goods are fragile, sensitive, or require special handling, FCL provides the added advantage of having exclusive control over the container, ensuring careful handling and reduced risk of damage.

While LCL shipments undergo proper organization and handling, if you have particularly delicate or sensitive cargo, you might prefer FCL to have complete control over the transportation conditions.

Transit Time

Transit Time

Transit time differences between FCL and LCL are a huge factor especially if you have a deadline to fulfill. FCL shipments typically have shorter transit times since the container heads directly to its destination.

On the other hand, LCL shipments might take longer due to the need for consolidation and trans-shipment at various ports. However, if you're more time-flexible and looking at saving costs, you might prefer LCL.

Cost Structure

In terms of cost, FCL, while it might seem more expensive initially, could be more economical for larger shipments as you are not charged on a per cubic meter basis like LCL. That said, for smaller shipments, the cost-effectiveness of LCL becomes apparent; you only pay for the exact volume your shipment occupies in the container.

Packaging and Handling

Handling and packaging differences between FCL and LCL can affect the condition of your goods upon arrival. FCL minimizes the potential risks of damage due to less handling, as the entire container is devoted to your goods only.

In contrast, with LCL, multiple cargos from various shippers are consolidated, increasing the handling process and thereby potentially the risk of damage.

Customs Clearance

Customs Clearance

Differences in customs clearance between FCL and LCL are also noticeable. For instance, FCL shipments usually clear customs faster and with fewer complications, as the cargo is from a single party. While LCL may experience longer delays in customs due to multiple parties involved in a shared container and differential goods.

Key Takeaway

In the world of online business, understanding the different types of cargo forwarding is important. FCL offers enhanced security, simplified logistics, and faster transit times, making it suitable for larger, time-sensitive, or delicate shipments. On the other hand, LCL is cost-effective and flexible, catering to smaller shipping volumes and businesses with more modest needs.

As always, consider partnering with a professional freight forwarder like CargoBoss, as we could guide you through these decisions, ensuring you pick the right mode of cargo forwarding for your business needs.

We are a reliable freight forwarder from China to the Philippines, offering all-inclusive rates with customs taxes and duties, documentation fees, and warehouse storage fees.

For first-timers, CargoBoss provides a step-by-step guide to their services, aiming to make the importing experience hassle-free.

If you have any concerns or questions, we offer real-time shipment tracking via e-mail. We also provide a freight calculator to estimate costs. To know more about shipping costs from China to the Philippines, you can contact us or visit this link.