LCL: Understanding Less than Container Load Shipping

2-minute read

As a small business owner, it’s important to understand different shipping options available to efficiently move your products internationally.

Sometimes, the challenge of international logistics can be discouraging for small businesses that lack sufficient cargo to fill an entire container.

This obstacle can hinder the expansion of small and medium-sized businesses, preventing them from broadening their market reach.

Whether included in a larger assortment or shipped independently, even small quantities of cargo deserve the same efficient handling as larger loads.

A solution exists that is flexible, reliable, and economical, and its popularity has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is LCL?

When you’re shipping goods to another country via ocean, you have two main options: FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (Less than Container Load).

FCL means you rent an entire shipping container just for your products, while LCL allows you to share a container with other businesses. It’s like carpooling for shipping!

LCL is a shipping method designed especially for businesses that don’t have enough goods to fill an entire shipping container.

Let’s say you have a batch of products (such as small boxes and pallets) you want to send to an international customer.

Instead of renting an entire container, which might be too big for your shipment, LCL lets you use only the space you need in a shared container. Your products will be combined with shipments from other small businesses until the container is full.

LCL: Understanding Less than Container Load Shipping_2

Benefits for Small Businesses:

  • Cost-Effective: LCL is budget-friendly because you only pay for the space you use, which is great for small quantities of goods. This results in reduced fees compared to a standard FCL shipment.
  • Flexibility: You can ship smaller amounts whenever you need to without waiting to fill a whole container. This is helpful if your orders vary in size or if you’re testing new markets.
  • Global Reach: LCL makes it easier for your products to reach customers around the world without the hassle of managing a full container.

Considerations for LCL:

  • Choose a Logistics Partner: Work with a trusted logistics provider that offers LCL services. They’ll help you with booking, packing, and paperwork.
  • Pack Carefully: Properly pack your products to prevent damage during transit. Remember, your items will be sharing space with other shipments.
  • Transit Time: LCL shipping is not as fast as air but it is an alternative to consider for your cargo. Since the container is shared, it might take a bit longer for your shipment to reach its destination as it can stop to pick up and drop off other goods.

In a nutshell, LCL is a cost-effective and flexible shipping solution tailored to small businesses.

It lets you send your products internationally without worrying about filling up an entire container.

By understanding LCL and its benefits, you can expand your market reach, serve customers worldwide, and grow your small business effectively.

Source: Global Trade Logistics Magazine and Maersk

P.S. Easy Freight Ltd helps New Zealand importers & exporters to save money on international freight and reduce mistakes by guiding how to comply with Customs and biosecurity rules. 

➔  Contact us now to learn how we can assist you.