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What is the difference between FCL (Full container load) and LCL (Less than container load)?

Overview of FCL and LCL Services

Considering the actual context, and Great Britain's trade terms with the European Union's countries, many companies have started looking for new business partnerships overseas.

If before a pallet delivery to Europe could have been easily booked without having to deal with customs requirements and paperwork, now the situation has drastically changed. Furthermore, this is the reason why businesses are trying to expand their trade area, by looking for new business opportunities outside Europe.

The most cost effective solution, especially if we are talking about a large shipment, is the sea freight service.

Because our work is dedicated not only to offer the best freight services on the market, but also to present you with a clear image about the transport industry, this will enable you, the customer, to be able to choose the best solution for your business.

Our sea freight service offers both import and export options, and it can handle oversized pallets or hazardous goods, at the lowest prices possible. Shipping by sea will still give you the option to monitor your freight to its way to the destination. Immediately after the fright has arrived at the loading depot, you will receive the tracking details and the ETA (estimated time of arrival).

Depending on the volume of your freight, you can choose between the FCL (Full container load) and the LCL (Less than container load) services, at the most competitive rates.

What is FCL and LCL?

FCL and LCL are two transport options when shipping by sea freight. This article will help you understand the main differences between these two sea freight options, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

The FCL stands for full container load, and there are two types of containers.

The first is the 20 ft. container, with a maximum capacity of 10 standard pallets (120cm X 100cm), or 11 euro pallets (120cm X 80cm).

The second type is the 40 ft. container. Depending on the pallet size used, it can take up to 20 standard pallets, or 23/24 euro pallets.

When choosing the FCL option, you will essentially rent the full container to transport your freight. If your shipment is made up of more than 6 standard pallets, which is more than half of a 20 ft. containers capacity, the FCL may be the most cost-effective solution for you.

If you have decided that the FCL is the best option for your freight, you will now have to choose between different services:

  • Door-to-door: We will arrange the collection from your door, and deliver to the receiver's address.
  • Door-to-port: The collection will take place from the sender's address, and delivered to the destination port of choice. The receiver will have to arrange the collection from the port where the consignment is unloaded from the vessel.
  • Port-to-door: The sender will have to drop-off the freight at the loading port, and we will deliver at the consignee's address.
  • Port-to-port: This option will only cover the overseas transport, which means that the sender has to drop-off the goods at the loading port, and the receiver needs to arrange the collection from the destination port.

One very important aspect to keep in mind when booking a door-to-door FCL is that both the sender and the receiver must have loading and unloading facilities, and they have to ensure easy access for a 40-tonne truck. Also, both the consignor and the consignee are responsible for the loading and unloading process.

Regarding the LCL service, the acronym stands for less than container load, which means your freight will share the container with other shippers' consignments. Exactly as for the FCL, the customer can choose from the following options: Door-to-door, door-to-port, port-to-door and port-to-port.

The LCL service would generally represent the most economical option for you if you have less than 6 standard pallets to ship, as you will not be paying for the full container but rather be splitting the costs with other consignments. This service can also handle oversized or hazardous shipments.

If you have decided that the LCL service suits you the most, there are two aspects you may need to consider: transshipment and reworking.

The first one, transshipment, refers to the process of offloading the container where your goods have been allocated from one vessel, and transferred to another for the rest of the journey.

Container reworking means when the goods from one container are moved to another one. Sometimes, this process can delay the shipments, as it may be necessary to collect enough consignments to fill one container.

Choose your option!

Whether you are interested in shipping one, two or a full container load of pallets, please be assured you will receive the best option for your freight. We work with the best carriers in the industry, and you can choose to transport your goods with us having complete peace of mind that they will arrive safely at the destination point.

You can obtain an instant quote on our website, and we can also offer you a customized price offer based on your consignment's details.

Also, we offer you the option to instantly insure your goods at the time of the booking, for values up to £45,000. If you are looking to insure goods for a value over £45,000 we will get back to you with a quote. We have also set up an Insurance Calculator, for customers who want to check the cost of insuring their freight.

If you have any questions regarding our services, tracking your parcel or advice, we're here


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