Everything You Need to Know About FCL and LCL Container Shipping

If you want to send your goods from one place to another by maritime freight, you will encounter Full Container Shipping (FCL) and Less than Container Loads (LCL) shipping methods. It is necessary to know these two methods well to decide which container shipping is the most suitable, economical, and secure for your delivery. Furthermore, many factors of your shipment help to determine the most sense of container shipping for you.

Before deciding which container you prefer for your goods, we recommend you read our article where you can find everything you need about FCL and LCL container shipping. Discover all the information you need to learn to make the correct choice in our article. 

What is a Full Container Load (FCL)?

FCL stands for Full Container Load and means container transport suitable for the use of a single consignee. In international maritime transport, FCL means a single container booked by the sender for the carriage of only the sender’s cargo. In this container transport, the sender’s container is not shared with cargo booked by other senders. In the simplest term, FCL means the carriage of shipments transported by maritime freight in one container.

Advantages of FCL Shipping

FCL service, which is preferred in maritime freight, has many advantages in many ways. FCL is generally chosen for high-volume containers. 

Shipments are less likely to be damaged in FCL and have a faster delivery time compared to other forms of container shipping service. The reason for this situation is that in FCL, containers are not opened until the goods arrive at the port of destination. Another advantage of FCL is that all containers are transported directly to the final destination. This advantage allows FL to reach the final port in a faster time. 

What is Less than Container Loads (LCL)?

LCL stands for Less than Container Load and is used to describe a shipment that does not fill the entire container. In an LCL, different senders share a container. When the cargo volume is not enough to fill the container, senders load their products into a container to fill the container.

The LCL is effective when the shipper does not need to reserve the entire container. LCL can be preferred when the size of the cargo does not take up as much space as a full container.

Advantages of LCL Shipping

Less than container load service, which is widely preferred in international logistics, has many advantages for the shipper. First of all, in LCL, since the container is shared with other shipped goods, the receiver or sender pays for the space used. 

With LCL service, especially small businesses can carry our maritime freight at a relatively low cost without the need for high volumes. In addition, charges for sea LCL are often based on cubic meters. If delivery time or transport time is not an issue, LCL service is a more economical option for small but heavy goods. 

Main Differences Between FCL and LCL 

When you want to send your cargo with one of the FCL and LCL shipping services, it is necessary to know the pros and cons of both services. Many factors, such as the volume of your cargo, arrival time, and security, will help you make your decision. The main differences between FCL and LCL are stated under this heading so that you can make the most appropriate choice for your goods. 

Delivery Time 

With LCL service, shipments take longer to arrive at the port of destination compared to FCL. The reason for this is that in LCL, the goods are combined with the other shipper’s goods. Therefore, the goods in the same container are processed, loaded, and unloaded at each port. When the separation of the goods takes time, it affects the delivery time of the goods to the receiver. On the other hand, in FCL service, the entire cargo arrives faster as it is delivered directly to the port of the destination. 

Volume of the Goods

LCL service is generally preferred for goods with a volume of 10 cubic meters to less than one cubic meter. However, if the volume of the goods is more than 10 cubic meters or if the sender prefers to send a large-sized cargo, it may be appropriate to choose an FCL. 


In FCL service, the full container charge must be paid whether or not goods fill the container. There is no specific requirement regarding the volume of cargo for FCL to be preferred. However, in LCL service, payment is made per cubic meter. Therefore, LCL can be relatively more costly. The cubic meter indicates how much space the cargo occupies in FCL and LCL shipping service. In FCL, if the logistics of goods that do not take up much space are carried out, it is necessary to pay for the space not used by other goods.


LCL container service is much more flexible when compared to FCL. If the shipper prefers to divide goods into many containers, LCL is a suitable choice. In addition, with FCL, additional costs, such as unloading and storage, have to be taken into consideration. 


FCL container shipping is safer compared to LCL. Since the goods are logistic with FCL handling less, the possibility of loss and damage is limited. The safe delivery of goods is a crucial factor affecting the choice between LCL and FCL methods.

Trem Chart Reliable Partner of the Maritime Freight

Trem Chart, one of the strategic partners of Turkish Goods, provides multimodal shipping services for any capacity volume in all sorts of maritime needs and dry bulk cargo interconnection. In addition, the company is designed for shipowners, operators, and management exclusively to meet the needs of logistic processes. If you want to provide the logistics of your goods by maritime freight, you can benefit from Trem Chart’s professional service. 

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