FCL vs LCL – What’s the Difference?

FCL vs LCL – What’s the Difference?

Many customers become confused about the difference between FCL and LCL shipments. This can be a challenging topic at first, but it’s actually quite straight forward! We’ve put together this post to help you better understand each.

LCL (less than container load) – This is how we have done all of your shipments in the past.  It’s slightly easier and leaves more time flexibility in making the appointment. It’s not as fast/cheap, as we have to go to a warehouse after the port, but this gives us an eye on the goods before they go for prep/damage problems. We also don’t incur fees if Amazon appointments are far out.

FCL (full container load) – 19 CBM is prime candidate for a full container. We can fit 10-11 US size pallets into a 20′ container, and around 20-22 into a 40′ container stacked.

FCL Pros:

Price –  This is the cheapest way to move your product across the US. We get really really competitive rates on FCL because our purchasing power has grown so much.

Faster –  All your own container, and delivered straight to FBA right out of customs clearance means no stops, whereas LCL tends to stop at a warehouse beforehand to deconsolidate.

Safest way to ship – least likely to incur damaged goods as long as we communicate with factory and make sure they package things sensibly, and there’s less unpacking/moving the goods.

FCL Cons:

– If Amazon delays us, we may have to take it off of the port and keep the container somewhere.  We can’t help this, and it results in extra fees. We file for the appointment as soon as clearance is done. We can’t do it before customs clearance because if there’s a delay and we miss the appointment, it ends up pushing appointments even further back. We get 5 days of storage for free at the port, but there’s always that risk Amazon is backed up/appointments are over 5 days out – which can incur extra storage fees.  During peak times/seasons, expect to have to pay a little more.

– Palletization and prep has to be done at factory – this extra stop adds extra cost. For better or worse, we lock the container when it leaves the port (or factory if EXW) and it’s not unlocked until we reach Amazon. Less margin for error – we have to ensure pallets/prep at factory are done right!

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