Many importers of imports from China without careful consideration when using FCL and LCL, resulting in huge economic losses, our experience is that the average importers of waste every ticket goods on logistics cost is an average of 300-1800 USD, why is reached 1800 USD, read the following article, you will understand how all this happened.



The content contained in this article includes:

One: Definition of FCL/LCL:

Second: the difference between the FCL / LCL:

1 difference between FCL and LCL operation process

2 The difference between the FCL and the LCL charges

3 The difference between the FCL and the LCL Timeliness. 4The difference between the FCL and LCL bill of lading

5 The difference between FCL and LCL packaging and shipping marks requirements

Three: Why is LCL more expensive than FCL?

Four: the advantages of the FCL

Five: the advantages of LCL

Six: How to choose to use for LCL or FCL

Seven: How to calculate and compare the total price of FCL and LCL



Summary of frequently encountered questions :


1 My shipment from Ningbo and the destination port is Sydney in Australia.

This data of goods is 12 cubic meters. Should I use a small container or a consolidation shipment?


2 I shipped from Qingdao to Houston, USA, a full container, almost the same size of 25 cubic meters. Why do I find that the price of a 40HQ container is almost the same as the price of a 20GP full container?


3 Hello, I am an importer from Brazil. I want to know why, when the ocean freight of a 40HQ container during 10days, the rate can be rise 1000USD? sometimes even more.


4 I am doing the CIF term, my supplier tells the LCL’s sea freight is 0USD/CBM, I am very happy at the beginning, but after I got the bill from co loader, which was very expensive fees,I have no choice ,I am urgent to get the goods,so I paid it, any way to reduce the LCL destination cost??


5 I imported from China to Japan, and but only 1CBM such small cargo reached 1000usd.

what hell was that? can you help me? how was your rate?

6why the LCL shipping cost is 10USD/CBM, will I be overcharge in Dubai port?what is the market price for 1 CBM.


What is the container used for?

The following content will answer the above questions:




The container is a great invention of the shipping industry. The most successful place is to establish a standardized transportation system for cargo transportation, and based on this, gradually realize the standardization of the matching of ships, ports, routes, loading and unloading, highways, transfer stations, bridges, tunnels and multimodal transport on a global scale.

It has greatly improved the efficiency of cargo transportation, and at the same time has the characteristics of high utilization rate and low cost. It is also the most commonly used carrier shipping from China.


Large quantities of goods shipping from China to the world are basically by sea. Shipping by sea is the cheapest compared to other modes of transportation. The most common carrier in shipping is using the container. Two common practices for container shipping are LCL and FCL.




First, let’s introduce the what is the FCL and LCL when shipping by a container:

What is a container?

What about container shipping?

What are the differences in length, dead weight, and loading volume ratio between 20-foot and 40-foot containers?


Container: refers to a large loading container with a certain strength, rigidity, and specifications for turnover. The use of containers to transfer goods can be directly loaded in the shipper’s warehouse, shipped to the consignee’s warehouse for unloading, and when the car or ship is changed midway, the goods need not be taken out of the box.


The greatest success of a container lies in the standardization of its products and the resulting set of transportation systems.

It is possible to standardize a behemoth with a load of several tens of tons, and on this basis, gradually realize the logistics system of ships, ports, routes, highways, transit stations, bridges, tunnels and multimodal transport on a global scale. Called one of the great miracles created by mankind in history.


What about container shipping?


(1) It can be used repeatedly for a long time and has sufficient strength.

(2) Transfer on the way without moving the goods in the box, you can directly change.

(3) It can be quickly loaded and unloaded and can be easily changed from one transport to another.

(4) It is convenient to fill and empty the goods.

(5) The volume is large and there are many goods loaded.

(6) Specification standards, which can be stacked on the port and on the ship, saving a lot of space.


What are the differences in internal dimensions, load capacity, and loading volume ratio between 20-foot and 40-foot containers?


The maximum length, width, and height of the interior of the container. The height is the distance from the bottom surface of the box to the bottom of the top plate of the box. The width is the distance between the two inner liners. The length is the distance between the inner side of the box door and the inner wall of the end wall. It determines the internal volume of the container and the maximum size of the goods in the box.

The dry containers (DRY CONTAINER) commonly used internationally are:

1. The outer dimensions are 20x8x8 feet 6 inches, referred to as the 20-foot container (inner diameter: 5988*2352*2390mm);

2.40x8x8 feet 6 inches, referred to as 40-foot container (inner diameter: 12024*2352*2390mm);

And more used 40x8x9 feet 6 inches, referred to like 40 feet high cabinet.

It is 11.8×2.34×2.68 meters. The gross weight of the distribution is generally 26 tons and the volume is 68 cubic meters.

45-foot high cabinet: the internal volume is: 13.58×2.34×2.68 meters, the gross weight of the distribution is 29 tons, and the volume is 86 cubic meters.

20-foot open-top cabinet: the internal volume is 5.89×2.32×2.31m, the gross weight is 20 tons, and the volume is 31.5 cubic meters.

40-foot open-top cabinet: the internal volume is 12.01×2.33×2.15 meters, the gross weight of the distribution is 30.4 tons, and the volume is 65 cubic meters.





One: Definition of FCL/LCL:




(Full Container Load, FCL). It refers to the container that is checked in by the container after the cargo has filled the whole container by itself. This situation is usually used when the owner has enough cargo to load one or several full boxes. Except for some large cargo owners who have their own containers, they usually rent certain containers from the carrier or container leasing company. After the empty container is transported to the factory or warehouse, the cargo owner puts the cargo into the container, locks it, seals it to the carrier and obtains the receipt of the station. Finally, the receipt is exchanged for the bill of lading or the waybill.



(Less Than Container Load, LCL). It means that the carrier (or agent) accepts the small amount of the consignment of the consignor and then sorts the goods according to the nature and destination of the goods. Concentrate the goods to the same destination into the same container. Since the goods of different cargo owners in one container are assembled together, they are called LCL.


This situation is used when the number of shipments of the owner is insufficient to fill the entire container. The sorting, concentration, packing (unpacking), and delivery of LCL goods are carried out at the carrier’s terminal container freight station or inland container transfer station.


Second: the difference between the FCL / LCL:



1 difference between FCL and LCL operation process:

The operation process of shipping FCL export:

  1.  Sales: According to the market conditions, promote the freight rate and inform the cargo space..
  2. Quotation: According to the customer’s specific shipping requirements: including product characteristics, destination port, shipping schedule requirements, delivery conditions, and other special requirements, make preliminary quotations to customers; quotation form includes under FOB: sea freight +destination fees + terminal Fee + customs declaration fee + document fee + trailer fee; approximate schedule information is also required in the quotation form like ETD/ETA/T/T


  1. Receiving the power of attorney: The customer fills in the specific information, complete and clear, and the contents of the “Current Power of Attorney” according to the contents of the “Current Power of Attorney”.

4, booking and fixed trailer: strict requirements and pay close attention to the timeliness of the trailer company, you can find a freight forwarder to arrange everything.

5, the complete set of customs documents must be complete, the customer in the relevant documents with specific requirements, stamped with the company’s official seal;

  1. Customs clearance and release: submit a full set of documents to the customs, review the customs and review the goods and documents according to the customs declaration materials, conduct random checks or self-examination by the freight forwarder (at your own risk), and collect taxes according to the category of the goods and in accordance with the provisions of national laws. And fill in the verification form, so that after the goods are exported, the Chinese supplier get the refunds from the government. If the unqualified refund is re-reviewed.
  2. Handing over with the shipowner and the ship’s agent: After handing over the customs clearance, ask the shipowner (on behalf) for the name and voyage information of the first-class shipping agent to prepare the bill of lading like Bestforworld ,we can issue our own House bill; check with the shipowner (on behalf) for the original bill of lading. The shipowner (delivery) delivers the freight, collects the shipowner bill of lading (MB/L); checks the bill of lading with the shipowner (on behalf), delivers the freight to the shipowner (the first-class shipping agent) and arranges the electric discharge procedure;
  3. Issuance of bill of lading: Under normal circumstances, after the goods are loaded, the specific requirements of the bill of lading are confirmed with the customer, whether the bill of lading (MB/L) or the bill of lading (HB/L) is issued, and at the same time, the customer is required to provide information on the contents of the bill of lading;

9. collect the freight

10. Shipping the container to the destination and arrange for the destination customs declaration and delivery to your door.



The operation process of sea freight LCL export:


1 A, B, C and other different cargo owners (consignors) will be less than one container of goods (LCL) to the LCL operator(co loader)

2 After the LCL operator assembles the LCL cargo into a full container, it handles the full container cargo transportation to the liner company.

3 After the FCL is loaded, the liner company issues B/L or other documents (such as sea waybills) to the LCL operator.

4 The LCL operator also issues his own bill of lading (house B/L) to each owner (consignor) after the shipment of the goods.

5 The LCL operator informs the institution (agent) of the port of discharge of the cargo ship that is expected to arrive at the port of discharge and also delivers documents such as B/L of the liner company and a copy of house B/L to the port of discharge agent. People, in order to pick up the goods to the liner company and deliver the goods to the consignee

6 Handover of relevant documents including house B/L between cargo owners

7 The agent of the LCL operator at the port of unloading picks up the full container with the bill of lading of the liner company.

8 A’, B’, C’ and other different consignees pick up LCL goods on CFS with house B/L





2 The difference between the FCL and the LCL charges:

The FCL:

Listed below are the main charges from the supplier’s address to the foreign address, including China’s inland costs and shipping company local fees, customs fees, trailer fees, terminal miscellaneous fees, sea freight, foreign destination shipping company local fees, terminals Fee, customs clearance fee, delivery fee

Towing fee + customs clearance fee + terminal miscellaneous fees:


Trucking fee:

Picking up container fee + port entry fee:

Customs fees:

Customs docs: (if the consignor does not have the import and export license)


Shipping company local fee:






ENS/AMS/ACI: (According to a different port of destination)










Some country like shipping from China to KOREAN AND JAPN MAYBE CHARGE:



Shipping China to many countries’s the destination, the carrier will also charge another local fee,because in the loading port, it seems Ocean freight only 30USD, or even refund: hundreds USD to the SHIPPER, but the consignee has to pay very high destination port local fee, So find a reliable Chinese Shipping agent , We don’t need to get a high refund from the destination port, we will set a low charge standard at the destination port for our customers







Port of departure:












Basically, the cost of the destination port is very different.

The general is as follows:















3 The difference between the FCL and FCL for timeliness.

FCL: Complete the loading at the factory directly, the trailer to the dock for export, and then the container arrives at the destination port, which can be directly cleared, picked up, and delivered.



The freight forwarder collects the goods of different consignors, waits for all the goods to enter the warehouse, and starts to collects some of the goods in the designated warehouse. Because the sharps and sizes of the goods of each consignor are different, the loading time will be relatively more.


The following steps are the same as the whole case. The trailer arrives at the terminal for export, and then the container arrives at the destination port. The agent first pulls the container, pulls it down into the designated warehouse, unpacks it, sorts it, and sends the arrival notice to each consignee again. Or the same consignee, later the consignee doing the customs clearance and delivery the cargo to his warehouse.t


Comparing these two steps, the actual delivery time from point to point, the difference time is actually about 3-5 days, of course, we generally choose a shipping company with a faster voyage, the service is stable, as the carrier of LCL transportation, After all, the LCL carries the anxiety and anxiety of many consignees. They all hope to receive their goods as soon as possible.



4 The difference between FCL and LCL about the bill of lading

The shipowner of the whole ship issuing a BILL called Master BILL.

LCL issued by an agent or a  freight forwarding company’s bill of lading commonly known as House BILL



5 difference between FCL and LCL packaging requirements and shipping marks


FCL has no special requirements for packaging, as long as it meets the container shipping size


LCL requirements for packaging require high-quality cartons to avoid damage, pallets, and each carton needs to be easy for sorting and unpacking.





Three: Why is LCL more expensive than FCL?



1Because the consignee of the FCL is single, the procedure after the container arrives at the port of destination is relatively simple.

The completion of the customs clearance step means that the goods can be directly picked up from the container terminal and sent directly to the consignee’s warehouse.


However, LCL takes more time at the POL(port of loading) and also the POD(port of destination) to loading and unloading the goods and sorting the goods, lot of time on documents, and the labor cost is also greater higher.


When the container arrives at POD, the agent at the port of destination also needs to notify each consignee and send the relevant arrival notice, which takes a lot of extra time compared to the full container.


Moreover, LCL needs to first take the container from the container terminal, pick up the goods to the agent’s (co loader or a freight forwarder)’warehouse, carry out unloading, sorting, and this step takes a lot of time.


The storage costs, labor costs, and extra fees of the terminal are all higher than the full container.


In particular, it needs to be explained that developed countries on LCL cost more, because of the high labor costs, and the low working efficiency of many countries in the Middle East and Muslim countries will increase labor costs, time costs, storage costs, and communication costs.


So sometimes when you have 19 cubic meters of goods, it may be cheaper to use a container. Of course, depending on the special circumstances of different countries, you can consult from your freight forwarders.


2 Many untrustworthy freight forwarders, especially when using the CIF terms, the freight forwarders arranged by the suppliers, will add additional costs to the destination rate details, and return to China, so sometimes you get the bill, many fees, actually you are Pay for change your life today, and do be fool by others, get a quote from Bestforworld.




The actual cost does not need to be so expensive. This is why we insist that customers use FOB Shipping or EXW shipping as a first choice when you import from China.







Four: the advantages of the FCL



1 your cargo will be safer

Compared with FCL, LCL shipping will have different specifications of goods, different weights, stacked, it is easy to cause damage to the packaging. But fill into a FCL will greatly reduce the risk of your lost goods, because many foreign destination port warehouses, because of the low quality of work, there are many stealing behavior.


2 You will receive your goods more quickly


Because LCL both at POL and POD it takes an additional five days or so to combine the container, unpacking, sorting, and notification.


FCL You only need to complete the relevant customs clearance and customs clearance procedures, you can pick up the goods from the container terminal.


3 the price is cheaper

Compared with the complicated LCL destination port cost, the FCL is cheaper and is converted to the unit price of each cube according to the total cost.


4 better track your cargo path

Each FCL shipping company is on its own official website, setting up the information tracking of the goods, and entering the corresponding container number can track your cargo path.



Five: the advantages of LCL



1 Unbound data limit

Even if you only have 0.5cbm, you can use LCL to transport, especially for buyers who are just starting to import from China. Shipping LCL will be a good choice.


2 less inventory pressure

Compared to buying a full container, although it seems that the logistics freight is saved, you do not have a perfect sales channel, once your inventory is squeezed, it will cause great harm to your cash flow.


3 faster delivery time

Instead of letting the supplier complete the shipment of a container, you can give priority to the delivery of the finished goods. No need to wait.


4 Reduce procurement risks

Compared to purchasing an entire container, your purchasing risk is greatly improved. If you buy a LCL cargo, you can better test the market and check the quality of the finished product.





However, the sea freight rate of the LCL and the FCL is very different because of the special regulations of the routes of different countries. We summarize as follows:

1 Shipped from China to the United States and Canada, FCL, 20GP, and 40HQ differ by almost 400-500USD, which mean shipping from China to North America, if you have enough money, and you can sell quickly, you had better shipping by a 40HQ container instead of a 20GP.


2 From China to the Philippines, Indonesia, the bad freight forwarder will charge up to 700-1500 USD for the extra FCL port fee, and the bonus 1000USD extra LCL additional destination port fee. If you come from these two countries, be careful. The best way is to get a quote from Bestforworld to save your business.


3 If you shipping from China to the UK, you really need to pay attention to the cost of the warehouse at the destination port .let your freight forwarder to finish the customs period, the warehouse fee is easy to reach: thousands of dollars, even thousands of dollars


4 If you shipping from China to Africa, because the quality of local agents in Africa is really very poor, extra charges are very common. be careful


5 If you ship from China to Japan, please pay attention to the high port of destination. The Japanese market is a country where bad shipping agent are the most popular liked

to make profits.


Since many Japanese customers don’t understand the market price, they are charged a few hundred dollars for one shipment, and thousands of dollars are very common.


If you ship from China to South Korea, the port of destination charges are also very chaotic, high and expensive, as an importer must understand the market price and reduce losses.



If you ship to Australia and New Zealand, the cost of the LCL in the destination port is also expensive. The best way is to send us an email and get an inquiry.



If you are an importer from another country, please contact Bestforworld and consult us before you shipping from China, and you will find the best FCL and LCL shipping support from us.



Shipping FCL Notes:



  1. When booking the export goods by the shipping company, the customer should fill in the contents of the booking export power of attorney, and fax or mail the completed shipping order to the freight forwarding company. The following items must be indicated on the consignment note: a. Shipper b. Consignee c. Notify party d. Port of departure e. Destination port f. Box type, container quantity g. Gross weight, volume h. Freight terms (prepaid, paid, third place payment) i. Name of the goods (if dangerous goods, please indicate the hazard level and related precautions, please specify the freezing temperature in the freezer) j. Shipping company Or non-ship carrier (if you specify).k. Other requirements


  1. If you have an agreed shipping rate with the shipping company or the non-vessel carrier, please also fax the shipping company’s freight rate confirmation (if there is no confirmation from the shipping company, the freight rate is invalid)


  1. If you need a shipping company to arrange trailer declaration, you need to inform the loading time, the loading address and the contact person in order to operate the trucker.


4. please tell the freight forwarder in advance when booking. if you need to get one set of Original Bill or telex Bill.


  1. If the importer has a special requirement on the destination container free detention and demurrage, please inform the booking freight forwarder in advance.


6 The confirmation of the bill of lading format is generally after the customs declaration. Before the ship is opened, once the deadline is exceeded, the shipping company will charge the same fee as the document fee, which is about 70usd.


7 If it is a courier bill of lading, we recommend using a better courier company such as DHL, UPS, FEDEX. And provide complete consignee information, because losing the original bill of lading, very troublesome


8 Sea freight from China’s exports Almost every week, the price fluctuates from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The mastery of the latest and most favorable sea freight is to have a Chinese freight forwarder.


9 Please strictly abide by the local container weight limit of the destination port. Overweight cabinets will cause very expensive fines. America


10 FCL the bills of lading are issued 2-3 days after the ship is a departure, but individual shipping companies such as APL are particularly slow and may take 5 days.






Shipping LCL Note:



  1. LCL goods cannot generally specify a specific shipping company.

The shipping company only accepts the booking of the whole container of goods and does not directly accept the booking of LCL goods. Only through the freight forwarder (the individual powerful shipping company who have many clients’ goods delivery to the same destination port) will consolidate the LCL goods before they can order the shipping company. Almost all LCL goods are transported through the “concentration of centralized handling and centralized distribution” of freight forwarding companies. Due to the limitations of the source of goods, the general freight forwarders can only concentrate on booking to several shipping companies, and rarely meet the needs of the designated shipping company. Therefore, when ordering the LCL, try not to accept the designated shipping company, so as not to be checked in. Can not meet the requirements.


   2, LCL bill of lading is generally issued by an agent or a freight forwarder called  (HOUSE B / L).


If you are paying by l/c, be careful when you use LCL shipping:


When negotiating a transaction with a customer, special attention should be paid to the relevant transportation terms, and a letter of credit should be made to prevent the other party’s letter of credit from being issued and found to be unable to meet the transportation terms.


For example, L/C stipulates that LCL cargo transport does not accept the bill of lading from the freight forwarder. Therefore, the shipping company does not directly accept the booking of LCL cargo. The shipping company’s ocean bill of lading is issued to the freight forwarder, and the freight forwarder re-signs the bill of lading (HOUSE B). /L) For the consignor, if the L/C regulation does not accept the freight forwarding B/L, then there is no space for the actual transportation handling, which will result in L/C discrepancies.


  1. Billing for LCL goods.

LCL cargo billing is calculated according to the cargo weight and size of the goods. When we deliver to the warehouse designated by the freight forwarder, the warehouse will generally re-measure and use the re-measured size and weight as the charging standard.


 4, the volume of goods is small, the port is a remote area. when the goods to be dealt with two issues.

(1) Due to the insufficient supply of LCL and high cost, some freight forwarding companies specializing in LCL adopt minimum charging standards for goods with less cargo volume. For example, the minimum starting price is 2 freight tonnage, that is, less than 2 freight tonnage. , will be charged according to 2 freight tons. Therefore, for goods with a small volume and a relatively remote port, some factors should be considered in the transaction to avoid passiveness in the future.


(2) For some routes and ports that are relatively remote, and customers propose LCL goods to be delivered to the inland point, it is best to consult before signing the contract to confirm that the shipping company and freight forwarding company can handle these remote ports and inland or not ,LCL shipping route most to the most common using POD not every remote area. Sign the contract after the delivery and related fees.

Six: How to choose when shipping by  LCL or FCL



Our experience is:

If 1cbm~9cbm, choose LCL.

If 9cbm~16cbm, do some research to see what’s the most effective solution.

If over 16cbm, choose FCL without any hesitation.


Keep in mind the details as below:


1 Plan your order quantity in advance

In this way, you can provide relatively accurate data to the freight forwarder, and the quotes you get will be relatively accurate.


2 using pallets

Although the use of pallets will increase the volume of your cargo, especially the cost of LCL freight rate, your cargo will greatly reduce the probability of damage and loss.


3 package size

Consult your suppliers because they know more about the products and get the most reasonable packaging solutions. It is also a good way to reduce the volume of goods. Many suppliers waste large packing space . Especially when the FCL container is transported, the extra free volume of the general container is a big waste.



4 LCL bills are generally issued on the same day when the ship is a departure.




Seven: How to choose to calculate the total cost of LCL or FCL:


Many importers will simply compare the sea freight and that is full operation.

You consider several factors and compare the details as below:


1 Inland costs from the factory to the container terminal/LCL warehouse


2 local costs of the shipping company and the LCL company


3 Chinese customs declaration fees


4 sea freight, it is interesting that many times the LCL shipping cost is 0, then how do we compare? Look at the following point


5Comparing the local expenses of the shipping company at the port of destination and all the destination port charges of the LCL and the port of destination warehouse charges for your LCL shipping ,you will find the big difference about FCL or LCL.


6 customs clearance for FCL and LCL, almost the same


7 destinations and LCL delivery charges


If you calculate all of the above, I believe that you can make a selection immediately, using LCL or FCL when you shipping from China.


 Sum up:

1 If your sales channels and orders are very stable, it is recommended that FCL


2 If you reduce inventory pressure and reduce the risk of funds, it is recommended that LCL, many Korean and Malaysia importer do like shipping by LCL.


3 Do not simply use FCL to reduce logistics freight, but let your inventory and capital chain get into trouble.


4 When your cargo is less than 16 cubic meters recommended LCL, of course, many countries are very special, more than 16 cubic meters are still FCL, cheap.


If you still confused about the cost, get a quote from Bestforworld logistics, our logistics expert will calculator for you.

Get a quote from Bestforworld today.

5 Place orders based on your purchasing ability, rather than the low rate and you purchase more, although the higher quantity you buy, the lower unit price you can benefit for shipping, and a large amount of inventory will destroy your business.



Get a quote from Bestforworld today and we will provide the most realistic and competitive FCL and LCL prices when you import and shipping from China.