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Less than container load cargo
16 Oct

Complete Guide to LCL Shipping

Less than container load cargo



What Is LCL Shipping?

LCL is the short form of Less Container Load “. It’s also called “Partial Container Load.” If the cargo is not a fulfill container, LCL is the best option. 


LCL is created by combining the cargo of more than one company in a single container. Your load is grouped with other cargo to fulfill the 20 “or 40” container. This is why it’s called “groupage shipment.” LCL shipment is an economical option for companies that want to export or import a small cargo. Container ships the cargo without paying any fees


Shipment companies provide LCL service by combining loads of different companies and transporting them with a single container. LCL requires a more complicated service for the shipper than FCL shipments due to both partial loads, loading and unloading operations, and the operational procedures carried out with many companies.


LCL Shipment is practical cause it’s a good way to make transporting small volume orders. The LCL option provides flexibility to exporter and importer companies when determining their shipment processes. Since it will not be necessary to fulfill a container, importing companies can order more often. Also, exporters can make multiple offers, including small quantities, despite all these advantages. Unit cost is higher in LCL shipments compared to FCL.

What Is Shipment volume

Shipment volume refers to the capacity that the freight goods take up. This is usually measured in cubic meters. In the US, cargo is measured with cubic feet. Determine the area your goods will occupy in the container. Determines whether the transport will be FCLmi or LCL. Once the volume of your cargo clears, the carrier calculates the transportation price. Their offer includes the size of your cargo (cubic meter or loading meter)

Stackable / Nonstackable

In container loading, the loads to be transported consist of standard packages such as boxes or pallets. According to package type and weight, some of them stackable. It means that you can load more than one box or pallets on top of each other. It’s the advantage to fulfill the container.


LCL Pricing

LCL prices are more variable than FCL. The main reason for this is that while carrying one container and profit margins are similar between the two ports, the cost of LCL loading depends on the shipper’s ability to find enough load to fill the box at the maximum level. Highly preferred carriers familiar with specific destinations are more likely to bid better and bid more frequently.


This information depends on the variables in the market. Still, the basic element of LCL pricing also depends on calculating the volume and weight of your cargo and whether you have prepared the box or pallet suitable for the container dimensions.


For example, both 20 “and 40” containers have an inner width of 235cm. Loading three parcels, each 75cm wide, will allow you to use the entire area. Therefore, if you prepare the parcel by calculating the width, height, and length of the container, it will be beneficial not only to fill an FCL container but also to get the most suitable freight offer for your FCL load.


a) Cubic Meter Calculator Formula

Length (centimeter) X Width (centimeter) X Height (centimeter) / 1000000 = Cubic meter (m3)

Its possible input dimensions as “centimeter”, “milimeter”, “inch”, or “feet” It works for each measurement styles.


b) CBM Calculation Formula

Length (meter) X Width (meter) X Height (meter) = Cubic meter (m3)

We can define dimensions in meters, Centimeter, Inch, Feet.

How does LCL shipping work?


c) What is Volumetric Weight?

Although some items are light, their volume, ie, their footprint, is large. These types of products are priced by calculating a weight value called volume weight. The shipping industry’s basic philosophy is to calculate both the weight and volume weight of a load and price it over the higher value.

 For example, Suppose you have a 50x80x50cm 35kg carton box with a “menswear suit” loaded. 

The volume weight of a parcel could be calculated like this: 

50x80x50 / 5000 = 40kg according to the formula below. 

As you can see, the volumetric weight is higher than the box weight.

 LCL vs. AirFreight

Suppose you have a load of 10 boxes of 60kg each, each size 60 * 60 * 100cm. This freight is costly for express courier transport. If you are going to ship overseas, your only alternative except LCL is airway shipment. Yes, it is a fast option, but for ten boxes it is costly. LCL is a slower but much more economical option versus airfreight.

Transit Time of LCL cargo

Since the cargo is LCL (Less Container Load), the goods will be stuffed into the container. The general practice is that exporters who will do LCL loading deliver the cargo to a warehouse designated by the carrier. In a similar warehouse in the country of import, the transporter will separate the loads in the container and deliver them to companies that have completed the import customs procedures. Due to these processes, LCL delivery time may be longer than FCL.


LCL shipment compared to FCL is the need to consolidate / deconsolidate the shipment before/after the ocean voyage. This occurs at a specialized warehouse called a container freight station (CFS) and will add a few days of lead time at origin and destination.


Sydney International Freight has been operating for over 40 years as an expert maritime shipping company of commercial goods as well as personal effects.

Among the types of maritime transport options, we have a good reputaion for competitive prices in LCL (partial shipment) and FCL with our reliable and professional service quality.  We are at your service for both LCL and FCL sea freight shipents in Australia, Europe, the USA and Far East destinations.  The most suitable loading option for your cargo may be LCL and FCL.  Sydney International Freight is at your service with its expert team to offer you the best options.