LCL vs. FCL- Which Container Load is Best for You?

What is a Container Load?

A “container load” is a unit by which cargo is measured in the shipping process. Similar to the difference between LTL and FTL for trucking, the most efficient way to ship cargo is in large quantities, moving more cargo for less cost than if one were to ship many smaller shipments separately. In order to ship large quantities of cargo, all items being shipped are fit into containers.

What is LCL?

LCL stands for less than container load, meaning the entirety of one shipment constitutes less space than one whole container load. The most notable benefit of choosing LCL for your container load shipment of choice is that your costs will be lower because the logistics manager will be able to fit other customers’ cargo into the container as well. As a general rule of thumb, LCL is usually best for shipments with a volume of less than 15 CBM. If you don’t know your volume amount, your logistics manager will be able to help you find out. The total cost of your shipment will ultimately depend on the distance and route taken but it will almost always be less than a FCL. 

What is FCL?

FCL is a full container load, meaning the entirety of the container will be comprised of your cargo. There is no minimum volume to use a full container, some clients prefer this mode even on smaller shipments, but it is most often used for larger-volume shipments. The most common container sizes for FCL are 20’–33 CBM, 40’–67.5 CBM and 40’ HQ–76 CBM. Sometimes, the cost for a FCL can be less expensive if the local charges are a fixed rate but often, it is more expensive for a smaller-volume shipment that could be transported by LCL. Another reason why many customers choose FCL even if they don’t need the entirety of the cargo space is because FCL shipments are often faster, as there is only one destination for the cargo on board as opposed to the several stops an LCL will require.

Which Container Type is Right for Me?

The various types of freight shipments can be confusing but choosing a container type used in your shipment is completely up to you, based on your needs and preferences. Each shipment is different so there are no hard and fast rules to tell which container type is best for you. The best way to answer this question is to discuss your options with trusted professionals.

As logistic managers, it’s our job to help you choose the right container type for your needs. LogiWorld’s staff have been managing cargo shipments for more than two decades, helping our customers move their goods safely across the United States and beyond with ease. If you’re looking to move cargo, contact us today for a free quote and we’ll be sure to find the best container for your needs.

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