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LCL vs FCL in Shipping | Difference Between LCL and FCL to save costs

LCL means Less Container Load and FCL means Full Container Load.

In this blog article, we have mentioned all the details about LCL vs FCL in Shipping: Choosing which Container Load is Best for your business by knowing the difference between LCL and FCL.

Whenever you start a new business or you are in an old business and want to grow it. the first thing you have to learn is all the tips and tricks including the basics of the business. Because these small tips and tricks make a huge difference when used in a practical environment.

Similarly, businesses like import and export are also no different than any other business in the world. It is really important to save operational costs in the business of import and export to get maximum profits and to sustain in the long run. Knowing about LCL and FCL is very important to understand – 1). to know the concepts and terminology in container transport 2). to know the two modes of transportation for containerized freight. 3). to make decisions related to container transport. 4). to save cost in your shipments.

That is why you have to understand the concepts of FCL (full container load) and LCL (less container load), along with this you also need to know the difference between LCL and FCL i.e. LCL vs FCL. These things will help you deal easily with the parties involved in the shipment, your customers, and as well as to grow your import-export business by saving money.


Before jumping on to the difference between LCL and FCL that is LCL vs FCL let us first understand in detail about LCL and FCL.

What are LCL and FCL in shipping?

The LCL and FCL are shipping terms used in the transportation business. These things make a huge impact when you want to deal with seasoned players and grow your business in their competition.

What is FCL?

FCL stands for Full Container Load but in regular uses, we only use it as FCL. In shipping terms, FCL means that one single container is booked by a person exclusively for the transportation of its cargo.

It doesn’t matter that in the full container load the whole container is fully loaded as per the capacity or not. many shippers do it for safety and security reasons related to their cargo.

What is LCL?

LCL stands for Less Than Container Load but in general usage, it is used as LCL only. And in shipping terms LCL is completely opposite to the FCL. in the less than container load settings, cargo if it does not take the whole container will go to a shared container.

LCL (less than container load) option in the shipping field is very economical. It is often used by the shipper if they think shipments do not have any security or safety threats.

The exporter needs to know – How to calculate CBM in LCL exports shipment? to derive the cost of LCL shipment.

LCL vs FCL in shipping. Know difference between LCL and FCL to save shipping costs - eximpedia.com

Features of LCL and FCL

Now you know the exact meaning of less than container load (LCL) and full container load (FCL) both. Now let’s discuss a few features of both.

Less Than Container Load (LCL)

  • Still less than container load is a cheaper type of shipping.
  • Most of the people with small cargo use it so it is also assumed as reliable.
  • Less than container load (LCL) is a easier way to ship your Cargo.

Full container load (FCL)

  • Full container load (FCL) Is a faster option to ship your Cargo.
  • Fragile and high security cargo are usually shipped this way
  • For a Bulky Cargo the Full Container Load FCL can be the cheaper option than LCL.

What is the difference between LCL and FCL?

Even though we have talked a lot about both of them less than container load and full container load. but it is always good to know the key differences/ LCL vs FCL so that you can make better decisions while doing the cargo shipment. So let’s deep dive into it.


Timing is one of the biggest issues is shippers face while doing the shipment. And that is one of the key differences between LCL and FCL/ LCL vs FCL.

When you ship your consignment with the less than container load settings, the expected time to reach the shipment its destination can increase by the time it’s on its way. because your shipment is sharing the container with other shipments. And it may have to change its route to deliver other shipments at different ports.

But when you ship your consignment with the full container load settings. your cargo reaches its destination a lot faster than LCL. Because your cargo does not have any other shipment in the container. the company can directly send your container to the destination port.


Pricing is the second biggest factor in less than container load and full container load settings. because you share the container with other shipments in less than container load setting that is why it is cheaper. and in the full container load, you do not share the assigned container with any other shipment that is why it is higher in price.

LCL vs FCL – Which is better and why?

Nobody can tell you which type of shipment less than container load or full container load setting is good always. Because the selection of LCL versus FCL completely depends on the cargo itself.

First of all, before I tell you anything about it. it is very important for you to know what type of cargo you are shipping. Because for one type of cargo less than container load would be more than sufficient. but there are a few exceptions when you have to select a full container load for your cargo even though it doesn’t have enough quantity.

Select the Full container load (FCL) If you want to send cargo as soon as possible. Because in the Less than Container Load settings timing can be the issue. Other than that for a few cargoes that have security concerns or are fragile, it is always advised to use the FCL while shipping.

But if you think your cargo does not have any time concern or it is not fragile you can always choose less than container Lord and ship your cargo. It may take extra time than expected but it is also a very safe option similar to FCL.

But if you think your cargo is bulky in shape then getting a quote on the Full Container Load (FCL) can be a good option. So always check both of the options.

We hope that you must have understood all the information about FCL vs LCL in detail. If you have any questions related to FCL and LCL then please comment down below, we will be glad to solve all your queries.

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