FCL and LCL: How do both of them differ from each other?

FCL and LCL: How do both of them differ from each other?

There are various modes of freight shipping used for transporting goods around the world. The shipping method is decided as per the business requirement and the size of the Cargo. While shipping goods from the sea, you must have come across these two terms known as FCL and LCL. These two terms play a considerable role in the shipping industry.

Whether you are an individual or an organization, you must have encountered these two terms while transporting your goods. FCL and LCL are the two factors that decide how the shippers will transport your goods. For more information about FCL and LCL, read the article below:

What is FCL?

The full form of FCL is a Full container load. It is used for businesses with bulk goods that can fit into a full container. The container does not contain any goods belonging to other people, and the entire container is dedicated to a single owner. In this case, if a single shipper owns the container, then the container doesn’t need to be completely or entirely loaded. Here, your goods are more secure as there will be fewer stoppages.

What is LCL?

LCL or Less than Container load is used when the shipper does not have enough goods to be shipped into a full container. In this case, the container is loaded with goods from different shippers. The best shipping company in Dubai, like SLR shipping services LLC, arranges a container where the shipper can load their Cargo with other Cargo. Shippers don’t have to spend much money on small shipments in FCL and only pay according to their shipment volume.

FCL Vs. LCL: Which one is better?

Both Full Container Loads and Less than Container Loads are used for different purposes, and each of them has its benefits and downfall. However, here we will provide you with some points to know which one is better for you:


The concept of FCL and LCL is based on the size requirement. If the shipper has goods in bulk and is equal to the size of the container, then a full container load is chosen. However, if the size of goods is not too much and can be loaded with other Cargo in a container, then Less than Container is used. This is also an excellent option for shippers who want to ship goods that take more than one container space. This way, the shippers can easily accommodate the extra goods on LCL cargo.

Transit Time

Another primary reason to choose between is the transit duration. Most people generally prefer Less than Container Load to transport their goods from one destination to the endpoint as the transit begins as soon as the shipment is booked and loaded. However, the large container load is not moved until the freight forwarding services find the goods required to load the entire container. However, if the shipper requires the goods in a scheduled time, a Full container load is preferable.


 Another significant aspect when choosing between the two is the cost of the Cargo. The actual cost of the shipment depends on the weight of the consignment. A large container load is expensive for transporting goods from one place to other as the process becomes longer and more complex. While FCL is expensive, LCL is comparatively cheaper for small goods.

Cargo Load

A minimum of 1 CBM or less is applicable for transporting goods in Less than Container Load with a maximum capacity of 15 CBM. On the other hand, there is no minimum or maximum Cargo size required for a Full container load shipment. However, it is preferred when the Cargo size is over 15 CBM. That means you don’t have any restrictions on shipping any size of goods in FCL. You can decide how many goods you want to ship as you buy a full container.

Safety and Security

In terms of security, the FCL is comparatively safer than LCL shipments. Since other Cargos’ are involved in the container, there is a higher risk of theft and damages during the transit. Freight insurance in less than container load is also available for an extra layer of protection.

 The risk rate is lesser in full container load as the shipment is carried straight from the port to the delivery point on a direct route. While in LCL, the goods pass through many stoppages increasing the chances of theft and losses.


 Tracking shipment is easier for both full container load and Less than container load. The owner of the goods can easily track their Cargo from the information given on the house bill. Find where your freight has reached and where it is stuck for a longer time. At the time of loading the shipment, the owners will be given a house bill where the consignment details are given.

Booking space

 Finding booking space is comparatively more straightforward for less than container load than full container load. Compared to large volumes, it is easier to find Cargo services for delivering less than container load shipments. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to get approval for Full container load shipments, and shipping a large volume of goods takes a lot of documentation and waiting time to get permission for shipment.

Custom clearance

There are no significant differences in the custom examination of both these shipments. However, the less than container loads contain higher chances of an increased time in customs clearance as the whole container will be blocked even if they capture a single Cargo. But, both of them have to go through a customs inspection for safety purposes. Also, the cost of customs clearance is paid equally by all the shippers sharing the container in a less than container load.

FCL or LCL: What should I choose?

Understanding this whole FCL and LCL concept is quite overwhelming, whether as an individual or an organization. Based on the above differences, we can clearly say that no method is superior and the best than the other. SLR shipping services LLC, the best shipping company in Dubai, will handle all your shipping needs to save you from hassle. You don’t need to waste your money and efforts to find the most reliable shipment providers and all the documentation. All you need to do is contact SLR services to get safe and efficient shipping services. Get your goods delivered with the most reliable and cost-effective freight forwarders in Dubai in the most convenient way possible.

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