LCL Freight (Less-than-Container-Load)

Global Door to Door LCL Shipping Service


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  • Door-to-door instant rates with multiple LCL freight service options
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  • Shipping to and from 150 countries


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What is an LCL shipment?

LCL shipping is a type of ocean cargo transportation service that does not require usage of an entire 20′ or 40′ shipping container. LCL stands for ‘less than container load,’ typically describing cargo that is being consolidated within a shipping container for ocean transport. LCL shipments are sometimes referred to as ‘groupage shipments’ as they are packaged alongside other goods with a similar destination.

How does LCL shipping work?

Products that will become part of an LCL consolidation are packaged, palletized and picked-up at the factory. The cargo is then trucked to a warehouse or storage facility where it is consolidated into a shipping container, typically together with freight from multiple shippers. Segregation and delivery to final destination(s) occurs upon arrival at the destination port and distribution facility.

Deciding between LCL and FCL

LCL shipping offers flexibility and the cost-benefit of transporting small amounts of freight without paying for a full-container or air freight. LCL also allows shippers to consolidate freight from multiple suppliers.

Types of LCL shipping

●     Palletized LCL shipping

Palletized LCL shipping entails securing and shipping product after stacking and wrapping onto pallets. This is the most common way to ship palletized freight.

●     Loose-loaded LCL shipping

Loose-loaded LCL shipping refers to transporting shipments without pallets. While secure stacking of the cargo occurs, extra handling may cause damage. We recommend palletized LCL shipping for customers who are most concerned about the safety of their cargo

What are the advantages of LCL shipping?

●     Lower cost

The main advantage of LCL shipping is undoubtedly the cost. Because you are not paying for an entire shipping container yourself, the transportation costs become much less. This cost-benefit is especially true for smaller shipments that do not require much space. LCL shipping is typically priced on a per-cubic-meter (CBM) basis.

●     Convenience

LCL shipping is increasingly convenient. It is less time-consuming to arrange and more flexible because of the multiple origin and destination options. With LCL shipping, you can more easily arrange weekly shipments. It is simple and straightforward to reserve space for your merchandise in an LCL shipment using ExFreight’s online rating tool.

●     Less restriction on transport types

Trucks that carry LCL shipments to their final destinations are smaller than those that pickup and deliver FCL shipments. Larger trucks often have restricted access to individual buildings or streets, which can limit options for shippers. LCL shipments avoid this issue and can ease the transportation process.

  • Inventory management and warehouse costs are lower

Large amounts of extra inventory will not be sitting in your warehouse. This facilitates additional capital for other elements of your business.

  • Weekly consolidation schedules allow multiple vessel options.

By working with several origin consolidation partners, your LCL shipments are more likely to sail at the desired time with commensurate arrival.

  • LCL shipments can be delivered to Amazon FBA facilities easier than FCL cargo.

ExFreight is a member of the Amazon Service Provider Network. Our LCL cargo flows seamlessly into global Amazon FBA locations.

What are the disadvantages of LCL shipping?

●     Only useful for small shipments

LCL shipping is not as suitable for large shipments that require more space during transportation.

●     Potentially longer transportation times

It occasionally takes more time for an LCL shipment to arrive than an FCL or air freight shipment. This is usually due to the origin consolidation of cargo and break-down of cargo at destination.

●     Greater possibility of damage

Shipping freight via LCL involves a higher-degree of handling which may result in higher instances of cargo damage.

When should you consider using LCL shipments?

●     For shipments up to 15 CBM

LCL shipping makes sense for cargo up-to 15 CBM (cubic meters). Most consolidators will charge a minimum of 1 CBM. Therefore, if your shipment is less than 1 CBM minimum charges will still apply.

●     When the shipment is last-minute

It is sometimes easier to secure LCL shipping space during times of limited equipment and port congestion. Although LCL shipping costs are more expensive on an overall CBM basis, they are more flexible. This makes LCL appropriate for last-minute shipments without paying for air freight.

●     When the delivery is not time-sensitive

If you need to secure space quickly but your clients can wait a bit longer for delivery, LCL shipping is an excellent choice. Again, LCL shipping can take longer to reach its final destination because of the different destinations.

Tips for preparing for an LCL shipment

●     Be sure to provide accurate pallet dimensions when requesting quotes

Correct pallet dimensions will help avoid transport and cost surprises.

●     Make sure to complete all necessary paperwork

An accurate commercial invoice and packing list is necessary for all LCL shipments.

●     Take fragility of goods into consideration

Fragile products may require more packaging, which can increase the volume and cost of your shipment. It is always better to make sure your cargo is appropriately packaged, even if the shipment cost is somewhat higher.

  • Buy cargo insurance

Ocean carriers offer very limited cargo-damage liability. This means that the entire cost of your cargo will rarely be covered against complete damage and loss.

Why Choose Exfreight for LCL Shipping?

●     A company you can depend on

Exfreight is a well-established freight forwarder with competence and experience handling LCL freight. Our commitment to operational efficiency helps make every shipment move as intended.

●     Transparent pricing

We offer transparent and straightforward international shipping rates. Our online, instant-rating system allows you to understand all shipment costs upfront, prior to booking. At Exfreight, there are no hidden fees or confusion about pricing.

●     Exfreight values customer communication

Our expert team is available to assist with all questions throughout the shipment cycle from rating, booking, tracking, and final delivery. Every step of the shipment is visible using our online platform including map-based tracking and all operational notes. Automatic emails are generated and provided to the customer upon different stages of the shipment.

  • Door-to-door service

We include service to door-door pricing for all LCL shipments through final destination. Everything other than taxes and duties are included within your quote.

●     Exfreight is detail-oriented

We doublecheck that all documentation is in-order and ensure all parties across the supply-chain remain on the same page. The booking, origin pickup, ocean transportation, customs-clearance, and final delivery are carefully orchestrated.

  • ExFreight offers additional services

Once your freight has arrived at your location, you may use our online domestic LTL system. Our discounted rates will allow you to ship palletized freight to your customer-base.

Finding the right carrier for your LCL shipping

Putting your trust in a capable and transparent logistics provider will result in a smoother global supply-chain and more time to effectively manage your business.

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