LCL VS FCL Shipment: Which Shipment Type Should Your Business Consider?

Sep 15 2021 by Hock Cheong

logistic services for shipping containers


Whether you’re a retailer or a manufacturing company, the shipping terms used in logistic services would have stumbled you at least once or twice. Well, if you’re reading this, you’re probably contemplating between opting for LCL shipment or FCL, wondering what exactly is their difference. In this article, we explain to you the key distinctions between both shipment types, as well as their pros and cons.


What is FCL Shipment?

logistic services FCL shipment

FCL stands for Full Container Load. Shipping by FCL means paying for an entire container of any size and loading it with your own cargo for shipment. This mode of shipping is typically employed by large importers importing a huge amount of goods at once because paying for a full container to ship their cargo would make a lot more sense. 


FCL shipments can be loaded by a supplier at their premises before the containers are being hauled for shipment. After shipping, an importer’s container can either be unstuffed before being delivered, or transport services can be arranged to drop the container directly at the warehouse rather than having to wait for it to be unstuffed. 


Benefits of Shipping FCL

  • Shipping via FCL means that the container only holds your cargo, this means that your goods are less likely to be handled by others, lowering the risk of damage. 
  • As the goods in a container shipped via FCL belong to a single company, this results in faster delivery and smoother custom clearance.


Drawbacks of Shipping FCL

  • Having to pay a flat rate for FCL shipment means higher shipping and operating costs.
  • As standard container sizes start from 20ft, FCL shipment is not suitable for importers and exporters with lesser cargo.


What is LCL Shipment?

logistic services LCL shipment


LCL stands for Less than Container Load. It is an alternative shipping method available to companies that do not have enough products to fill up an entire container. Smaller importers and exporters can choose to pay for a container space and have their goods consolidated with other importers’ LCL shipments to fill up one container.


When compared to FCL shipments, LCL is typically a better alternative for businesses with low-volume shipments less than 13 cubic metres.


Benefits of Shipping LCL

  • Shipping via LCL allows you more flexibility in arranging for transport services, delivery and shipping appointments. 
  • Shipping fewer goods via LCL also means spending less on inventory space and less on shipping costs because you’ll only be paying for the space you take up, per cubic meter, rather than a flat rate like FCL shipment.
  • Instead of waiting for large orders, customers can opt for LCL shipment and do not have to wait to combine orders in order to fit into a full container. 


Drawbacks of Shipping LCL

  • As LCL shipments need to be loaded and unloaded from containers at both locations, they are handled by more people, increasing the chances of damage.
  • LCL shipments go through many more processes compared to FCL, which adds a few days to the journey. 


Now that you’re familiar with the difference between LCL shipment and FCL shipment, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your business.


Looking for logistic services to help you with the shipping and warehousing of your inventory? Hock Cheong is a leading third-party logistics company in Malaysia that provides logistic services connecting Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and China. With more than 90 years of history and experience, contact us today for professional supply chain solutions tailored to your business.

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