How does LCL work?
If you don’t have enough goods (or have slightly too many!) to fill a standard sized sea freight container then utilising a LCL (Less than Container Load) service, offered by many freight forwarders can provide freight solutions for your shipments.
With LCL your items are consolidated into a container with the shipments of your freight forwarders other clients. As the cost of booking is split amongst the multiple shippers you are able to make smaller shipments at a cost effective rate. LCL also enables you to send your shipments when required, rather than waiting until you have enough goods for a FCL (full container load) shipment.
Your freight forwarder will assume responsibility of the booking with the shipper and will deal with relevant customs processes on your behalf so all you need to do is ensure that your items are packed and wrapped suitably for LCL shipment and that they are with the freight forwarder on time for consolidation.
Utilising their expertise and facilities your forwarder will plan and consolidate your items into a container along with the goods booked into the shipment from their other clients, ready to transport. As this takes a little bit of time, you will find that they will request availability of the shipments a few days before departure.
Once your goods arrive at destination, the freight forwarder will collect the container from the port and transport to a warehouse for de-consolidation into individual LCL shipments. The shipments can then be collected by the receivers, or the forwarder can arrange delivery direct to the final location on your behalf.
The number of origins and destinations offered by freight forwarders have generally increased in recent years, and with regular, often weekly schedules in place, LCL has become a more attractive proposition for customers looking to transport smaller loads via sea freight. So if you have smaller shipments it’s definitely worth enquiring about LCL with your chosen freight forwarder.