Deciding Between LCL and FCL

Among the most important decisions for international freight shippers is to decide between LCL (less than container load) and FCL (full container load). The difference between the two choices is simple. When you are shipping a full container load, your shipment takes up an entire ocean freight container or containers. And those containers could be 20” or 40”. Less than container load shipping however is a little bit different. Your shipment takes up less than a full container so it gets shipped in a container with other shipments in transit.
But what if your freight is close in size to a full container? Should you purse a full container or share the container with other shipments and possibly save some expenses. There is no universal cut-off line for shipments that are less than a container load and it really depends on the shipment. For example, if you are shipping in a 20-foot container, and your pallets are less than a dozen cubic feet, it might be wise to ship as LCL.
LCL has some possible obstacles. Shipping LCL could take up more time than FCL because of the other shipments in the container, which need to be separated at the destination port upon arrival. In addition, there might be some damage in an LCL container due to the other shipments inside. The prices for an LCL shipping quote might be different because of surcharges. These are very important considerations for shippers to think over when deciding between LCL and FCL.