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FCL stands for full container load and is used as a shipping option where a container is exclusively used only for a single shipment and will not be shared with other cargo shipments, and the cost incurred for such containers are borne by one party. Even if the consignment is not as large as the container, the supplier or we can say shipping party can still opt for it. There are many reasons because of which they would choose to send using FCL shipments, such as;

  • FCL shipping costs is less than LCL. The cost of per unit freight is higher when shipped with LCL than FCL, and importing fees has to be paid regardless of the shipment size or choice of container shipment
  • FCL shipments provide you with faster lead time/delivery.


LCL stands for less than container load (LCL) is another shipping term. In this type of shipment various cargo shipments share the same container along with the container shipping costs. There exist a few reasons because of which LCL container shipping is chosen, such as;

  • LCL Shipping is usually chosen when the consignment is not enough to fill up an entire container
  • LCL shipping can allow you to lower warehousing costs, that is, in this you can stock a warehouse until you are able to accommodate a FCL shipment, which results in lowering your warehousing and inventory costs

How LCL is different?

When the seller doesn’t have the volume to book one entire container, then the products are transported alongside other products from a different seller, once they reach the common destination, then they separated for their respective final destined.

Advantages and disadvantages between FCL and LCL

Differences FCL LCL
Inventory Size The seller must be able to accommodate the entire container. Since shipment can be an expensive affair,therefore, sharing the container will cost-effective.
Price LCL allows cheaper than FCL,small amount essential for non-disruptive cash flow. FCL gets delivered faster than LCL since it has only one kind of products with one destination unlike LCL has multiple stops to cover.
Speed of delivery FCL however, works out cheaper per unit. Also,importing fees are fixed,which means they do not scale with volume, meaning payment is the same irrespective of size. When an LCL shipment gets to a port, the different shipments must be consolidated,documents matched with each item in the container, and then sorted. So LCL shipments tend to take longer than FLC, and every shipment has to be checked and could face examination from customs
Damage Since it only has one type of goods, therefore, it will have minimal damage risks. Combination of goods would have higher chances of getting damaged.