What you need to know about LCL shipping


If you’ve reached the point in your import business that you need to consider shipping containers’ interior dimensions, pop open the bottle of champaign. Even if there is still work ahead to get your SMB on the fast track or scale-up, this is a milestone. Here are some tips about what option best suits your needs for the shipping stage.

What is LCL?

LCL (Less-than-container Load) is an international ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) freight shipping term that describes container loads filled by multiple goods or orders. For example, suppose an importer is shipping a small amount of merchandise by a container. In that case, it is more cost-effective to merge the delivery with that of other importers or consignees also with small orders. The idea is to fill a container by grouping items together.

What is FCL?

Before diving into LCL, a common question is what is FCL? FCL is the logistics acronym for “Full Container-Load,” hence the opposite of LCL. The shipment consignment occupies the entire container and is not shared with other importers or consignees as with LCL, where container space is shared. With FCL, the buyer pays the cost of the entire container space, while LCL only pays for the area they occupy in the container.

What is a Loose Cargo Load?

Just to be clear, a loose cargo load is sometimes confused with LCL. The former refers to a load that is not palletized or not yet palletized. Most carriers require that goods be palletized to avoid damage and enable smoother loading and unloading. However, some loose cargo cannot be containerized or palletized due to their dimensions.

LCL Dimensions

The four typical container sizes are:

  • 8ft shipping container – 8ft (2.43m) length x 7ft (2.20m) width x 7ft 6in (2.27m) height
  • 10ft shipping container – 9ft 10in (2.99 m) length x 8ft (2.44m) width x 8ft 6in (2.59m) height
  • 20ft shipping container – 20ft (6.06m) length x 8ft (2.44m) width x 8ft 6in (2.6m) height
  • 40ft shipping container – 40ft (12.2m) length x 8ft (2.44m) width x 8ft 6in (2.6m) height

LCL Benefits

  • Ideal for shipping small loads: New trading businesses want to send lower volumes of goods before ramping up volumes.
  • Test run before bulk ordering: Before ordering in bulk when sourcing items from several suppliers to test stock, using LCL can serve as your first test run
  • Shorter delivery time: Not having to wait until you can fill a whole container, goods ordered will arrive faster.
  • Less inventory management: Less volume of goods than a full container means minimal inventory management in a warehouse.

LCL with Eezyimport

Eezyimport has years of experience and the most advanced technology to help US importers face challenges on every front of the import procedure and even do it themselves (DIY).

Now, eezyimport has turned its attention to addressing logistics industry pain points through its new Ocean Freight Service. Suppose importers, for instance, are importing by freight from China. In that case, eezyimport offers its expertise to find leading carriers who offer competitive rates and top-notch service. No matter the size of your cargo, and if you are shipping via LCL or FCL, we schedule your shipping and ensure you secure space for it without stretching lead times.

eezy Freight will help you navigate the complex and costly world of shipping. We are here to simplify your processes and accelerate your success!

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